Regis tackles toons

Gamer doubles combined auds of 3 new series

“Family Guy,” “Secret Agent Man,” “God, the Devil and Bob,” meet Regis.

Three series trying to carve a niche in the tough 8 o’clock hour on Tuesday were squashed by ABC’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” with the Regis Philbin-hosted gamer more than doubling their combined audience.

The night marked the timeslot premiere of the controversial NBC animated laffer “God, the Devil and Bob,” which went head-to-head at 8:30 with another cartoon comedy, Fox’s “Family Guy,” as well as UPN’s 8 p.m. action drama “Secret Agent Man.”

‘Family’ cleans up

“Family Guy” emerged from the cartoon clash as the clear choice of younger viewers, topping “God” by 18% in adults 18-49 and by 35% in adults 18-34. Among teens, “Family” held a 42% advantage over “God” and even topped “Millionaire” by 1 share.

“God” is not being shown on NBC affiliates in 17 mostly small markets because of its religious depictions, but the hell-aballoo doesn’t seem to be helping much. Airing for the second time — following a Thursday preview in the post-“Friends” slot — the laffer drew 6.34 million viewers and an adults 18-49 rating of 2.8/8, leaving the Peacock in fourth place for the half-hour.

Laffer “3rd Rock From the Sun” kicked off the night for NBC with a third-place finish in adults 18-49. “God” retained 85% of this “Rock” audience.

“Family Guy” (6.68 million, 3.4/9 in adult 18-49), in its new slot for a second week, withstood the toon tussle very well, holding onto virtually all of its young adult audience from a week ago. This week it retained 85% of its adults 18-49 lead-in from a repeat “That ’70s Show.”

‘Secret’ slips

UPN’s “Secret Agent Man” (1.68 million, 0.7/2 in adults 18-49) slipped by more than 30% from its bow a week ago, although the numbers are close to what the netlet had been averaging in the slot this season. UPN figures to be patient with the show, which comes from the auspices of Barry Sonnenfeld and Barry Josephson; next week, it will be followed on the Tuesday sked by Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana’s new police drama, “The Beat.”

“Millionaire” (28.12 million, 9.2/26 in A18-49) continues to dominate, even with an audience drop of nearly 2 million viewers from the previous Tuesday. It was the gamer’s lowest total-viewer tally on a Tuesday since it became a series regular in January, although its adults 18-49 share of 26 is on par with its average over the last few weeks.

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