Four scripted fan favorites returned Friday night, but the real ratings surprise was from a reality show.
The first of the final five episodes of The CW’s Smallville delivered 2.3 million viewers and a 1.0 preliminary adults 18-49 rating — that’s up 11 percent from the show’s last episode back in early March. Supernatural (2.2 million, 0.9) was also back, yet dipped slightly from its last airing.
NBC rolled out the fifth season debut of Friday Night Lights (5.4 million, 0.9), and its low number tied CBS’ Chaos (5.5 million, 0.9) for last place at 8 p.m.
Fox’s Fringe (3.6 million, 1.3) is also back, and with Leonard Nimoy returning as guest star. Like Smallville, the show climbed a notch from its last original airing, but didn’t signal any profound ratings surge.
And then there’s ABC’s Shark Tank (5.4 million, 1.5). Love this show, but had nearly written off its chances for a third season given its modest performance in recent weeks. Probably because NBC switched from unscripted Who Do You Think You Are to FNL in the same hour, Tank jumped 25 percent from its usual 1.2 rating to tie 20/20 as the night’s top-rated show.