Flat Friday for Fox

Peacock struts with 'Southland,' 'Parks' bows

Fox didn't get much ratings traction from its Friday night sci-fi block, which included the season finale of "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," but NBC found something to cheer about Thursday with the debuts of "Southland" and "Parks and Recreation."

Despite wrapping up "Terminator's" second season — and, likely, the series — and offering a heavily promoted preview of the May 21 feature release "Terminator Salvation," the sci-fi action drama (3.6 million viewers, 1.3 rating in adults 18-49) wound up flat. Its companion, "Dollhouse" (3.6 million viewers, 1.4), slipped a tenth of a ratings point.

Most everything Friday was on par, including the season finale of NBC's "Friday Night Lights" (4.4 million, 1.3), up from the previous week but matching a couple of weeks earlier. The night's highest-rated show was CBS' "Ghost Whisperer" (10.2 million, 2.5).

On Thursday, NBC's new "Southland" (9.9 million, 3.2) topped the premiere of CBS' mystery thriller "Harper's Island." The cop drama, from "ER" producer John Wells, won the 10 p.m. hour and built slightly on its "30 Rock" lead-in (6.7 million, 3.1).

NBC surrounded 8:30 p.m.'s "Parks" (6.9 million, 3.0), starring Amy Poehler, with two original episodes of "The Office." "Parks" performed decently, especially for its time period, where it placed second to CBS' season-low "Survivor" (11.2 million, 3.4). But the rookie fell slightly from its special "Office" lead-in (7.3 million, 3.3), and the 9 p.m. "Office" (8 million, 3.9) went up 30% from "Parks."

"Clearly, it's a marathon and not a sprint, but we're really invested in these shows, and they are really super-high quality, and last night gives us some space and belief that they'll continue to perform," NBC co-chairman Ben Silverman said.

Silverman was particularly impressed with "Southland" growing during its hour, and rightly so: It's the first time a drama at 10 p.m. has climbed during its series-premiere telecast since 2005, when NBC debuted "Medium."

"Harper's Island" (10.2 million, 2.6) did OK but fell 29% from its "CSI" lead-in (16.7 million, 3.8) to place second in the hour. (ABC aired repeats). It's a bit below the "Eleventh Hour" season average, and "Harper's" lost 11% of viewers during its telecast. (partialdiff)
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