'Shark Tank' jumps to best-ever ratings

A few years ago, I wrote a story urging ABC to renew a freshman reality series called Shark Tank that had miserable ratings its first season and was on-the-bubble for a pickup. I wrote how the show is great, that this format has been a hit all over the world and could work here too if given another chance and a little polishing.

ABC stuck with the program, improved the judges panel (adding Mark Cuban really helped) and now here we are: The little-Shark-that-could has been regularly winning Friday nights this season (its first with a full 22-episode order), and last night night the show reached its biggest rating ever. Shark Tank had 7 million viewers and a 2.0 in the demo, all-time-highs in both total audience and 18-49. ABC faced a whole lot of repeats at 8 p.m., which helped.

After that first year, ABC took the same kind of leap-of-faith investment with Shark Tank that the show’s panelists take with struggling entrepreneurs. Its success proves you can have a business-based reality show that relies on practical and non-sexy concepts like math and entrepreneurial spirit rather than c-list celebrities selling cupcakes on Fifth Avenue and being fired by a pretend-boss (sorry Mark Burnett, I know you produce both, but this is the one to be proud of).

Enough geeking out about the Tank. The CW’s Nikita came back. And was low-low-low. This is a show that we really thought was getting the hook last season, but the network decided to renew it instead of Secret Circle. Nikita had 951,000 viewers and a 0.3 in the adult demo, down 50 percent from last year.

Also last night: NBC’s Grimm (4.9 million, 1.4), CBS’ CSI: NY (9.1 million, 1.2) and Blue Bloods (10 million, 1.3).


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