Hard Landing For 'Mars'

ABC's Life on MarsABC's new, highly regarded Thursday night drama "Life on Mars" seemed to be cruising toward hit status--then something happened in the second half-hour of its second episode during its 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. airing.

The rating for "Mars" quickly sank from a Nielsen preliminary 3.0 rating/8 share among 18-49 viewers to a 2.4/7. As a result, "Mars" landed with an average 2.7/7, down over a full rating point from the week before, when it debuted with a strong 3.8 rating/10 share.

It's expected that a big debut for any new show will fall back to earth in its next outing, weeding out viewers with mild curiosity from those who may become loyal fans. Still, a 29% drop for any show may be a little eye-opening.

That wasn't the case with CBS' new Thursday night show "Eleventh Hour," which ran opposite "Mars." It maintained its numbers from a week ago, stopping the clock at a 3.2/9. Coupled with steady performances from "Survivor," at 4.2/10--which easily won the 8 p.m. hour--and "CSI" at 9 p.m., which offered up the second-best TV show of the night with a 5.1/13, CBS won Thursday night with a preliminary 4.2/11 among 18-49 viewers.



NBC was not alone in the category of new show depression.

Comedy "Kath & Kim" lost 22% to a 2.5/7 from a 3.2/9 the week before. Every NBC show actually fell week to week--even its high-riding "Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update," which went south to a 4.1/10 from a 5.1/12 the week before. The best news was that "ER" in the 10 p.m. time slot bested the rookie shows from CBS and ABC, earning a 3.6/10.

ABC still had a good outing from "Grey's Anatomy" with a 5.9/14, which was actually up a bit from the week before, when it earned a 5.6/13.

Without any big playoff baseball game, Fox was in a hole. "Hole in the Wall" at 8 p.m. had a 1.4/4, and a repeat of "Kitchen Nightmares" took a 1.4/3. The World Series, which typically improves its late October rating picture, is up next for Fox.

After CBS, ABC was second for the night with a 3.7/10; NBC earned a 3.4/9. CW and Fox were tied at a 1.4/4.

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