Leary laffer loses luster to 'West Wing' rerun

This article was corrected on March 26, 2001.

In its second try on Wednesday, ABC’s new Denis Leary laffer “The Job” didn’t do nearly as good a job holding onto its “Drew Carey” lead-in, but it still posted respectable numbers.

According to Nielsen, “The Job” placed second to a repeat of NBC’s “The West Wing” in both adults 18-49 (4.9/13) and total viewers (9.79 million). While these scores are just a bit below the show’s strong premiere of last week, they’re not nearly as impressive since lead-in “Drew Carey” was up significantly week-to-week.

After bowing with a 100% retention of “Drew’s” 18-49 audience last week — the best hold for any post-“Drew” comedy on Wednesday in two years — “Job” held only 80% of its demo lead-in (4.9 vs. 6.1). Things figure to get tougher next week, when an original “Drew” airs and Fox premieres reality series “Boot Camp.”

Elsewhere Wednesday, a highlights/recap episode of “Survivor: The Australian Outback” easily won its 8 p.m. hour for CBS (22.93m, 9.7/26 in A18-49), nearly matching the combined demo score of the other three major nets during the hour (10.1/28).

These numbers are a hearty 81% of what an original episode of the reality adventure series averaged a week earlier in a special Wednesday outing. Series returns to Thursday next week for the first of its final six episodes, with the finale set for May 3.

‘Apple’ rots numbers

CBS again squandered the substantial “Survivor” lead-in on struggling rookie drama “Big Apple” (8.34m, 2.9/7 in A18-49), which sunk to fourth place with worst-yet numbers. The Eye was hoping to see some improvement this week opposite a “West Wing” repeat, but the cop show retained an anemic 33% of its 18-49 lead-in and 34% in adults 25-54.

CBS did get a boost later in the evening, when a guest standup appearance by Jerry Seinfeld and a musical performance by Paul Simon lifted “The Late Show With David Letterman” to its third-best overnight Wednesday rating of the season. “Late Show’s” 3.8/10 in Nielsen’s 49 metered markets lags behind only a Wednesday in November (4.1/10) and Grammy night in February (4.0/12).

NBC’s “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” remains dominant in the hour, though, topping “Late Show” by 42% in overnights (5.4/14 vs. 3.8/10) despite its third-lowest Wednesday of the season. In Gotham, “Tonight” more than doubled “Late” (5.2 to 2.4), which finished fourth on WCBS.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more