“A Gifted Man” moved into the 9 p.m. Friday slot (8c) and gained about 800,000 viewers.
But the first-year drama — starring Patrick Wilson as a New York neurosurgeon — didn’t improve on the show that occupied the 9-10 p.m. slot (8-9c) a week earlier, “CSI: NY.”
Here’s what happened: In the Nielsen overnights for Friday, CBS won with a three-hour prime-time average of 10.292 million viewers. Its closest competitor was ABC, with 7.126 million.
For CBS, the night was a test run for a rejiggered Friday lineup — starting with “Undercover Boss” (which averaged 10.733 million viewers at 8/7c), then “A Gifted Man” (9.509 million) and “Blue Bloods” at 10/9c (10.633 million).
“A Gifted Man” apparently benefited from the move since, a week earlier, it drew 8.78 million viewers in the Nielsen nationals an hour earlier. But on that same night a week earlier, “CSI: NY” scored 10.44 million viewers at 9/8c — which means “A Gifted Man” didn’t provide CBS with a time-period improvement in its new 9 o’clock berth.
The background is: With average viewership in the neighborhood of 9 million viewers a week, “A Gifted Man” would be a solid hit on any network except CBS. On CBS, it is the lowest-rated regular series on the network. And that means it’s in danger of being cut loose at the end of the season if its prospects don’t improve.
Our take is: Just because its ratings are too low for CBS (which is in the enviable position of having so many high-rated shows) doesn’t mean “A Gifted Man” couldn’t work for another network such as NBC or ABC — both of which have numerous weak spots in their prime-time lineups. Moreover, “A Gifted Man” is a pretty good show (as you’ll see if you watch the show, above).