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Battered ABC pulls ‘Over,’ stalls ‘Hiller’

After taking another bad Tuesday beating — this week from NBC and Fox — ABC reshuffled its Tuesday lineup, canceling the Tim Curry sitcom “Over the Top” and benching Disney’s “Hiller & Diller” for the rest of the sweeps.

ABC’s “Grace Under Fire” will return to the ABC schedule at 8 p.m. beginning Nov. 25, the last Tuesday of the sweeps. Until then, repeats of “Home Improvement” will start Tuesdays nights. “Soul Man” is permanently shifting back to the less competitive 8:30 p.m. slot starting next week, and repeats of “Dharma & Greg” and “Spin City” will air at 9:30 p.m. in place of “Hiller & Diller” for the rest of the month.

ABC was forced to make some changes because it had its lowest-rated Tuesday on record with originals, falling to third place in homes (9.8/15) and adults 18-49 (6.4) — its first third-place finish in that demo since 1985. NBC won the night in homes for a second straight week (11.6/18).

Despite that triumph for NBC, the biggest shocker was Fox’s nightlong victory in adults 18-49 (8.0) with its much-maligned specials “World’s Scariest Police Chases 3” and “World’s Deadliest Swarms.” Fox was second in homes (10.7/16), and NBC was second in young adults (7.6).

CBS was out of the Tuesday game, placing fourth and falling behind the low-rated presidential election-night coverage last year in homes (7.1/11). The Eye web was also fourth in young adults (2.4).

At 8 p.m., ABC’s “Soul Man” fell to its lowest rating ever Tuesday in the 8 p.m. slot (7.7/12 homes and 4.5 adults 18-49). Next week it moves to the more protected 8:30 p.m. position. NBC’s “Mad About You” placed first at 8 p.m. in homes (10.9/17), but was second in young adults (7.1) behind the first half of Fox’s “World’s Scariest Police Chases 3” (10.3/16 and 7.5).

Columbia TriStar TV’s 8:30 p.m. sitcom “Over the Top,” which placed fourth in homes (6.8/10) and third in young adults (4.2), was canceled after just three episodes. The second half of Fox’s chase special placed first in homes (13.2/20) and young adults (10.2).

For the hour, “World Scariest Police Chases (11.7/17 and 8.8) received Fox’s highest timeslot rating in homes since 1992 and its highest young adult rating in the timeslot ever (excluding the World Series).

At 9 p.m., ABC’s “Home Improvement” had its lowest original ever in its regular timeslot in both homes (11.2/17) and young adults (7.4). NBC’s “Frasier” won both categories (14.0/21 and 9.9), and the first half of Fox’s “World’s Deadliest Swarms” was just one-tenth behind “Home Improvement” in young adults (7.3).

At 9:30 p.m., ABC’s “Hiller & Diller” placed third in homes (8.3/13) and young adults (5.3), while NBC’s “Just Shoot Me” won the timeslot in both categories (12.0/18 and 8.1). “Hiller & Diller” will now be off the air until Dec. 2. Next week, ABC is plugging in a repeat of “Dharma & Greg,” and for the two weeks after that, “Spin City” repeats will air at 9:30 p.m.

At 10 p.m., ABC’s “NYPD Blue” managed the network’s one win for the night in homes (12.4/21) and young adults (8.4).

Sweeps-to-date, ABC is still first in homes (11.0/18) and tied for second in young adults (6.4). NBC is second in homes (9.8/16) and first in young adults (6.9). CBS is third in homes (9.5/15) and fourth in young adults (3.8). Fox is fourth in homes (8.2/13) and tied for second in young adults (6.4).

Starting Dec. 2, ABC’s revised Tuesday schedule will be: “Grace Under Fire” at 8 p.m., followed by “Soul Man,” “Home Improvement,” “Hiller & Diller” and “NYPD Blue.” Separately, Fox ordered a full season of Sunday hit comedy “King of the Hill.

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