'Moonlight' helps CBS win Friday

Cult vampire series tops 9 p.m. hour with little competition

CBS' cult-favorite vampire drama "Moonlight" returned Friday night and the result is a ratings story that's as complicated as Nielsen numbers can get.

On one hand, "Moonlight" (8 million viewers, 2.1 average adults 18 to 49 rating and a 7 share) won the 9 p.m. hour and helped CBS win the night.

On the other hand, the competition was nonexistent -- with NBC's "Dateline" (7 million, 1.9/6) the closest competitor.

On yet another hand, "Moonlight" had a strong retention of its "Ghost Whisperer" lead-in (9 million, 2.3/9) and, at 10 p.m., "Numbers" performed similarly (9.6 million, 2.2/7).

Running out of hands, "Moonlight" was down 9% from its pre-strike original average.

But other serialized shows coming back post-strike have dropped even more.

In other words, the "Moonlight" number is nothing for CBS to be proud of. Yet it is.