The cancellation of Numb3rs, long a favorite in this hour, throws this timeslot up in the air. Long-running newsmagazine 20/20 will have a real shot, but so may the new scripted offerings.
The longtime home of newsmagazine 20/20 will continue to be that way in 2010-11. ABC has tried other stuff here before, like drama Men in Trees at the beginning of fall '07, but I wouldn't count on any such experiments this year. It averaged a 1.66 demo during the regular season last year.
Crime drama Numb3rs debuted in this timeslot in midseason of the '04-'05 season and held down the timeslot pretty consistently through its April 2010 finale. After several years as part of the moving/cancellation rumor mill, its big drops in 2009-10 finally got it the axe. CBS Friday evolves into something entirely new for fall 2010, and at 10:00 that means Tom Selleck-led newbie Blue Bloods.
NBC ran the final season of Las Vegas in this hour during '07-'08. NBC then moved crime drama Life to this timeslot for the beginning of fall '08. Its results weren't anything special but they were good enough to warrant NBC moving the show to its fast-tanking Wednesday lineup while Wednesday refugee Lipstick Jungle briefly ended up here. Jungle did badly and was pulled temporarily, eventually airing its last few episodes in the 9:00 hour while Dateline NBC took over on most Fridays at 10. In the first part of 2009-10 it was home to The Jay Leno Show, like every other 10:00 weeknight on the net, but when it ended in February the net generally expanded Dateline to two hours. Legal newbie Outlaw takes over, but it is one of those new shows of 2010-11 that has a really obvious replacement waiting in the wings. Look for hour 2 of Dateline again if this one tanks.
Syfy goes with drama Sanctuary in an extremely unique role - a lead-out to Friday Night Smackdown! That wrestling franchise has never aired on a network that aired three hours of national primetime, so we've never seen what it can do as a lead-in. Sanctuary is the guinea pig.
Blue Bloods - 1.71 average, 2.2 premiere
20/20 - 1.52 average (-8% from last year)
Outlaw - 1.30 average, 2.4 premiere (premiere took place two days ago and actually pulled a 2.3... if you feel the need to verify that I made this prediction, see here)
WHAT I'M WATCHING
I'll try both Blue Bloods and Outlaw. You?
For more, see my 2009 post on the hour.