'Fighting Fitzgeralds' down 20%

ABC’s “What About Joan” wasn’t as dominant in its second try Tuesday but continues to show promise, again winning its half-hour by most measures.

According to Nielsen, the midseason laffer topped its 9:30 competition in both adults 18-49 (5.8/15) and total viewers (13.06 million) — although it was down by 15% and 12%, respectively, from its premiere. These are fairly modest dropoffs, especially since overall primetime television usage fell by about 7% from week-to-week because of daylight-saving time.

ABC was probably most pleased with “Joan’s” 7% build on “Dharma & Greg” in adults 18-49 (5.8 vs. 5.4), even though this is down from its 17% gain a week earlier. Former timeslot occupant “The Geena Davis Show” had improved upon its “Dharma” lead-in only once in its last 10 tries.

“Joan,” which won its half-hour by 4 shares in 18-49 for the second straight week, faced easier competition in week two: NBC’s 9 p.m. comedy “Frasier” aired in repeat, reducing the numbers for the firstrun laffer that followed it, “Three Sisters” (9.54m, 4.4/11 in A18-49); Fox drama “Dark Angel” was also a repeat.

Elsewhere on the night, NBC’s midseason comedy “The Fighting Fitzgeralds” (8.56m, 3.2/10 in A18-49) was down by 20% in 18-49 from its surprisingly strong premiere in the 8 o’clock slot last week — pushing the Peacock back into fourth place.

David Copperfield’s 8 p.m. CBS spesh “Tornado of Fire” (12.56m, 4.2/12 in A18-49) may have had something to do with the “Fitzgeralds” fade. His first original Eye spec in six years finished just a tick behind ABC’s first-place “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” in the demo.

ABC’s “NYPD Blue” also did well Tuesday, as the farewell episode for original cast member James McDaniel delivered the show’s largest aud of the season (16.63m) and third best 18-49 rating (6.4/18).

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