'Dancing' Sashays ABC Into Top Place Tuesday

A little controversy never hurt a TV program--and "Dancing with the Stars" adheres to that theory.

The ABC reality dance-competition show recorded a top-notch Nielsen 6.0 rating/16 share among 18-49 viewers--its biggest non-finale episode ever. That's due, in part, to the abrupt departure of country singer Sara Evans from the show. Evans filed for divorce from her husband of 13 years last week.

It helped ABC that "Dancing" occupied one-half of its prime-time schedule on Tuesday. But this big push didn't help the net's comedy "Help Me Help You" at 9:30 p.m., which came in with a 3.1/8 in viewers 18-49. These were virtually the same numbers that "Boston Legal" earned at 10 p.m. (3.2/8), its best seasonal numbers to date.

For the night, ABC had a 4.6/12; NBC, a 3.8/10; Fox, a 3.6/10; CBS, a 3.6/9; CW, a 1.7/4, and Univision had a 1.5/4.

Although a smaller success story, NBC witnessed its rookie show, "Friday Night Lights," stop some of the bleeding--improving to a 2.7/7, which matched its premiere numbers. NBC's two "Law & Order" shows--"Law & Order: Criminal Intent" and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"--came in with similar numbers versus a week ago. "Criminal Intent" took in a 3.8/9 in viewers 18-49, while "Special Victims Units" had a 4.9/13 in 18-49.



Fox is finally seeing some better post-season baseball results with the League Championship Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets. It averaged a 3.6/10 in adults 18-49. Given the prospect of a long six- or seven-game series, Fox should expect even better numbers as the series continues.

Like NBC's dramas, CBS's hour-long shows also came in as expected--"NCIS" had a 3.9/11 in viewers 18-49, while "The Unit" rescued a 3.8/9 in 18-49.

The CW's Tuesday night young women's lineup is slowly improving. "Gilmore Girls" had a 2.1/5 in viewers 18-49, and "Veronica Mars" had a 1.4/3 in 18-49. But more significantly, the CW achieved its best Tuesday adult 18-34 numbers so far--a 2.1/6.

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