ABC finds ‘Then’ is now

Skein catches 11 mil viewers, improves 'Guy' lead

ABC midseason laffer “Then Came You” bowed to strong ratings Wednesday night, winning its half-hour in adults 18-49 with the net’s best comedy tally in the slot in six months.

The 20th Century Fox TV romantic comedy about an older woman-younger man relationship drew 11.14 million viewers and a 5.3/15 adults 18-49 rating, according to Nielsen. It topped its nearest competitor in adults 18-49 (Fox’s “Beverly Hills, 90210”) by 26% (4.2/12).

“Then” improved by 2% on its “Two Guys and a Girl” lead-in (5.2/16), a bit better than the 96% retention that previous slot occupant “Norm” had averaged with its last five original episodes. It was ABC’s best young adults rating in the timeslot with regular programming since the season premiere of “Norm” on Sept. 22 (5.8/16).

“Then Came You,” which was originally skedded to bow in the fall but was held back, will air for six weeks, with “Norm” set to return in time for the May sweeps.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, NBC rookie drama “The West Wing,” airing an original episode for the first time in four weeks, delivered its largest audience (15.76 million) and best adults 18-49 score (5.5/15) since its premiere in September.

Strong numbers for “Dateline” and “Law & Order” pitched in to help the Peacock web win the night easily in total viewers and by a narrow margin in adults 18-49. ABC placed second in both categories.

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