ABC debuted its new Ted Danson sitcom, "Help Me Help You." And while it performed well in comparison to new sitcoms--a 3.6 rating in adults 18-49, according to Nielsen preliminary ratings--it couldn't deliver the evening to the network.
Fox won the night with a 4.7 rating/13 share, thanks to its strong medical drama "House." NBC and CBS were tied with a 3.4/9. Univision was at a 1.9/4, and the CW was at a 1.4/4.
The 3.6 "Help" rating in adults 18-49 at 9:30 p.m. tied CBS' "The Class" for best comedy premiere, so far. It was ABC's best showing for a new comedy in some time. Still, the "Help" numbers were of no help to ABC's next programming at 10 p.m.--"Boston Legal," which sank to a 2.9 rating.
Still, ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" continues to tap down a strong performance for a 90-minute episode this week, earning a 5.2/14 in adults 18-49 with some 17.8 million overall average viewers. This week, however, it didn't beat "House"--which doctored up a 5.9.
Somewhat troubling for the CW was its debut of "Gilmore Girls," which sank almost 30 percent in 18-49 viewers with a 2.0, down from last season's WB debut. In comparison to UPN, however, "Girls" was 53 percent higher versus last year's season debut of "America's Next Top Model." More depressing for "Girls" was that its younger audiences are seemingly slipping away, earning a 2.1 rating among 18-34 viewers, down 32 percent.
NBC had its usual good performance from "Law & Order: SVU" at 10 p.m., which led the time period with a 5.0 in adults 18-49. Against "SVU," CBS' new criminal drama "Smith" took in a 3.1--down 14 percent from its premiere last week.
CBS' best this evening came with military action drama "The Unit," which won the 9 p.m. hour with a 3.6--up 6 percent from its series premiere the previous week. Next came NBC's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" and Fox's "Standoff," which tied with a 3.4 in adults 18-49. A repeat of The CW's new drama "Runaway" barely could register, with a 0.8 in adults 18-49.