CBS Takes Mid-Season Opener, ABC, NBC Show Promise

The first big night of the network mid-season shows went to CBS again--even though it wasn't running on all cylinders. But ABC and NBC looked to make it interesting.

ABC returned with its hit summer show "Dancing with the Stars," with a strong 4.8 rating and a 12 share of viewers 18-49. It was the best regular-series performance in the time period among adults 18-49 in almost five years.

But "Stars" wasn't at the same levels as when the show was last on the air--when it earned 5 plus ratings among viewers 18-49. Still, ABC said that versus its series debut last June, "Stars" was up by 4 million viewers and by 12 percent in adults 18-49. ABC was, of course, faced much stiffer competition this time around.

NBC's new comedy lineup also showed some promise: "My Name is Earl," at 9 p.m., posted a 5.2/13 in 18-49 viewers--the highest rating for the show in seven months--bettering "The Apprentice" numbers, which has moved off the night.

"The Office," at 9:30 p.m., grabbed a very saleable 4.5/11 rating--retaining 87 percent of "Earl"'s audience.



Earlier in the evening, NBC's premiere at 8:30 of comedy "Four Kings" took in a 4.2/11 in viewers 18-49, building on "Will & Grace"'s 3.5/10 in viewers 18-49.

For the night, CBS was still in charge--with new episodes of "CSI" and "Without a Trace"--earning a preliminary industry-leading 6.8/18 among adult viewers 18-49. Next was NBC, 5.0/13; ABC, 4.1/11; Fox, 2.2/6; WB, 1.0/3; UPN, 0.8/2.

Among total viewers, it was CBS with 21.0 million; ABC, 14.5 million; NBC, 10.8 million; Fox, 5.1 million; WB, 2.2 million; UPN, 2.0 million.

Competition will only get thicker the rest of the way. "Neither 'Survivor' nor Fox's "The O.C." were running new episodes yet," said Brad Adgate, senior vp and corporate director research for Horizon Media. "You can't really judge the night right now because not all the shows are back. You could make a claim that NBC has improved, as well as ABC."

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