Blue Bloods fans tuned in for the first episode of 2021 Friday night, helping CBS retain its dominance in live ratings. The long-running police drama and its Friday night brethren, Magnum P.I. and MacGyver, all earned higher audience numbers than their previous episodes. Blue Bloods' latest episode, "Redemption," featured four storylines as usual, and included a guest performance from Tony winner Ali Stoker.
MacGyver opened CBS' Friday night schedule with 5.1 million viewers, which was up from its previous new episode. The show notched a 0.5 18-49 rating, which was flat, notes TVLine. Magnum P.I. attracted 5.7 million viewers in its return from a holiday break. Blue Bloods had 6.4 million viewers, easily the most viewers for any new show on the networks. Both Magnum and Blue Bloods had 0.6 18-49 ratings, which were up from the previous episode.
Elsewhere on Friday, ABC aired a new Shark Tank, which attracted 4.4 million viewers and a 0.8 18-49 rating, making it the top-rated show on the night. Fox's Friday Night SmackDown earned 2 million viewers and a 0.5 rating, which was steady. Whose Line Is It Anyway? and Penn & Teller: Fool Us earned 849,000 and 750,000 viewers, respectively, for The CW. Both shows had just a 0.1 rating in the key demographic.
The Nielsen ratings for Friday programs only give a hint as to how many people actually watched a show. Considering that many people record shows to watch at a later date or watch them on streaming platforms, many more viewers might have watched CBS' shows, for example. New episodes of Blue Bloods are available to watch after they air on CBS All Access.
"Redemption" included a dramatic story with Jamie (Will Estes) and Eddie (Vanessa Ray) earning a rare opportunity to work a case together. After Officer Flores' (Keiyln Durrel Jones) partner was shot, the husband-and-wife team tried to track down the shooter. Unfortunately, when they found a suspect matching the description, the man was dead. Jamie and Eddie thought Flores might have killed the man out of revenge, but they later discovered Flores was not even at the scene when his partner was shot. That cleared Flores of any wrongdoing, but he still felt guilty.
Elsewhere in the hour, Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) and Baez (Marissa Ramirez) helped a woman who was raped by a person she thought was her rideshare app driver. Erin (Bridget Moynahan) was conflicted over making a sentencing recommendation for a man convicted of manslaughter from a car accident. Lastly, Frank (Tom Selleck) clashed with Detective Allison Mullaney (Stoker), who wanted to stay on active duty after receiving an award. Frank was not happy with the idea, but he eventually reached a compromise with Allison. Blue Bloods airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.