James Hibberd
February 05, 2011 AT 04:20 PM EST

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They’re back: The CW’s Smallville and Supernatural returned Friday night, the latter facing Fox’s Fringe.

Smallville (2.4 million, 1.0 preliminary adults 18-49 rating) and Supernatural (2.3 million, 1.0) both matched their last original ratings from Dec. 10. But Fringe (4.3 million, 1.6) dipped 16 percent from the 1.9 rating its averaged the last couple weeks. Details below…

Overall, it would have been nice to see The CW shows spike a bit given the amount of eager fan anticipation for their return, but these numbers work just fine.

Otherwise, it was a rare three-way Friday tie for first place among CBS, NBC, and Fox. CBS was back in all originals, starting with the low-rated time-period premiere of The Defenders (8.7 million, 1.3), down 35 percent from its Wednesday night average. A special, Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials (9.5 million, 2.0) aired at 9 p.m., and, sadly for all involved last night, ranked as the evening’s highest-rated program (this show could have been responsible for Fringe‘s drop more than Supernatural‘s… or not… always tough to say for sure). CSI: NY (9.3 million, 1.9) aired at 10 p.m.

NBC had the second season premiere of Who Do You Think You Are?, profiling Vanessa Williams (7.3 million, 1.3), which was down 19 percent from last year’s debut. Dateline (8.7 million, 1.9) followed. ABC aired Supernanny (4.2 million, 1.2), Primetime (4.6 million, 1.3), and a Barbara Walters special (6. 2 million, 1.1). Up against Smallville, Fox’s Kitchen Nightmares (4 million, 1.7) was steady. Here’s Ken Tucker’s Fringe recap and Sandra Gonzalez’s Supernatural recap.

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