"Blue Bloods" airs on Friday night, which for many years has been considered a television graveyard because broadcasters figure potential viewers are out on the town instead of in their living rooms. Networks usually program accordingly, keeping their highest-profile shows on other nights.
"Blue Bloods," which stars Tom Selleck as a New York City police commissioner and patriarch to a crime-fighting family, has defied the odds. It's the most popular Friday night scripted series in more than a decade. In its fourth season, the show's ratings are up 4 percent over last year, the Nielsen company said.
Last week, with the usually more popular "NCIS" airing reruns, "Blue Bloods" was CBS' second most-watched show on the air behind "The Big Bang Theory." The only drama on TV to do better was NBC's "The Black List."
"The show offers a unique twist on a traditional crime show by introducing the family element," said Kelly Kahl, CBS' chief scheduling executive. "I think that's a relatable element for people."
In most shows, Selleck's character Francis Reagan is joined at a family dinner table by his three children, who play a New York police detective, a cop and an assistant district attorney.
CBS gave "Blue Bloods" a brief tryout on Wednesday nights a few years back. But its ratings were pretty much the same as on Fridays so the show was kept there.
It does skew old, drawing many viewers who don't bother going out on Friday nights. While the show ranked No. 6 among all viewers last week, it was No. 41 among the 18-to-49-year-old demographic. Two ABC shows last Friday, "Shark Tank" and "20/20," did better in that demo.
CBS won the week in prime time with an average of 8 million viewers. ABC had 6.4 million, NBC had 5.4 million, Fox had 4.8 million, Univision had 2.8 million, the CW had 1.5 million, Telemundo had 1.3 million and ION Television had 1 million.
TNT was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 3.05 million viewers in prime time. USA had 1.94 million, the Disney Channel had 1.9 million, History had 1.79 million and TBS had 1.62 million.
NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.2 million viewers. ABC's "World News" was second with 7.6 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.3 million viewers.
For the week of April 21-27, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 16.44 million; "Dancing With the Stars," ABC, 14.06 million; "The Voice" (Tuesday), NBC, 11.29 million; "The Black List," NBC, 11.24 million; "The Voice" (Monday), NBC, 11.19 million; "Blue Bloods," CBS, 11.05 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 10.44 million; "NCIS," CBS, 10.4 million; "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 10.18 million; "The Millers," CBS, 9.96 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.