There is always limited real estate on Friday nights thanks mostly to so many potential viewers doing other things. Therefore, anytime that something comes on the air to huge numbers, almost everything else is of course going to suffer.
This was proven last night as “Bruce Jenner: The Interview,” a much-hyped two-hour special featuring the former Olympian sitting down sitting down with Diane Sawyer, became one of the top-rated primetime newscasts that we have seen in the past several years. More than 16 million viewers watched, including a massive 5.2 rating in the 18-49 demographic. The last time ABC had anywhere close to this rating for a non-sports program was the Oscars; before that, you are probably looking at the 2014 Oscars. This is not something that happens for them often in the absence of a major smash hit like an “Empire” or a “Big Bang Theory.”
No, we’re not assuming that this rating means that there will be an onslaught of even more Kardashian programming on major networks. This was more of a human story regarding Bruce and the decision to speak out about identifying as transgender. While he does have an upcoming documentary series on E!, we also have a hard time thinking that it will draw anywhere near these sort of numbers, either.
So what all suffered? Mostly the programming over at CBS. “The Amazing Race” (1.1) was not hurt too badly, but then again it did not have direct competition. Even “Hawaii Five-0” kept steady to its own 1.1, but that is a low and not-too-pleasing number to begin with. “Blue Bloods” was hurt the most, losing over 15% of its demo audience and falling to a 1.0. We don’t think that these ratings will be indicative of what is renewed or canceled; the network has a full season’s worth of data for that.