‘Home’ cooks NBC

Big 'Improvement' leads ABC Tuesday

After two weeks of cellar-dwelling Tuesday ratings, ABC rebounded this week and soundly defeated NBC with a bandaged Tuesday schedule that included three sitcom repeats.

Led by an original episode of “Home Improvement,” ABC won every half-hour in homes and the key adults 18-49 demo, averaging a 12.9 household rating and 20 share for the night and an 8.8 in young adults.

NBC was second for the night with a 10.9/17 in homes and a 7.2 in young adults. CBS, which aired the second half of its mini “Ken Follett’s ‘The Third Twin’ ” was third in homes (10.4/16) and fourth in young adults (4.4), its highest since the May sweeps. Fox, which aired the movie “Die Hard With a Vengeance,” placed fourth in homes (7.6/11) and third in young adults (5.1).

ABC perked up dramatically with a double dose of “Home Improvement.” A repeat of “Home” at 8 p.m. defeated “Mad About You” in homes (12.0/19 vs. 10.9/17) and young adults (7.3 vs. 7.0), giving ABC its first timeslot win against “Mad” in both categories this season.

“Mad” equaled its season low, while NBC’s “Frasier,” “Just Shoot Me” and “Dateline” all sunk to new season lows.

At 8:30 p.m., ABC’s repeat of “Soul Man” (12.2/18 homes and 7.9 adults 18-49) built on its lead-in and won the timeslot, followed by the second half of CBS’ “Jag” in homes and NBC’s “NewsRadio” in young adults. “Jag” averaged a 9.6/16 in homes for the hour and a 3.8 in young adults. “NewsRadio” rated a third-place 9.6/14 in homes and a second-place 6.6 in young adults.

At 9 p.m., “Home Improvement” (17.3/25 homes and 12.4 adults 18-49) received its highest rating since Oct. 29, 1996. “Home” not only defeated the 100th episode of “Frasier” (12.9/19 and 9.2), but it jumped 68% in young adults from its low-rated episode last week.

At 9:30 p.m., a repeat of ABC’s Wednesday sitcom “Dharma & Greg” defeated an original “Just Shoot Me” on NBC. Boosted by its “Home” lead-in, “Dharma” had its highest rating to date, a 12.3/18 in homes and an 8.7 in young adults.

“Dharma” still dropped off 29% from its lead-in, which is about equal to the loss original episodes of “Hiller & Diller” have faced in the same slot this season. “Shoot Me” was third in homes (10.0/15) behind “Third Twin,” and was second in young adults (7.4).

At 10 p.m., “NYPD Blue” (11.8/20 and 8.1), the only other original on ABC’s schedule Tuesday, edged out NBC’s “Dateline” (11.1/18 and 6.3).

Part two of ‘Third Twin” on CBS averaged a 10.8/17 in homes from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. and a 4.7 in young adults. Part one on Sunday averaged a 12.9/19 in homes.

While ABC got a Tuesday reprieve, the network’s woes are far from over. The web won’t be running two episodes of “Improvement” forever, and NBC may emerge victorious when “Grace Under Fire” and “Hiller & Diller” return to the schedule in coming weeks.

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