‘Fitzgeralds’ fares well between 2 ‘Frasiers’

Hit show reason the newcomer wins timeslot with adults, second place overall

The premiere of NBC’s “The Fighting Fitzgeralds” received strong sampling in the middle of a “Frasier” sandwich Tuesday, winning its half-hour in young adults.

According to Nielsen, the ATG/NBC Studios comedy starring Brian Dennehy averaged a winning 5.5/14 in adults 18-49 and a second-place 13.57 million viewers overall in its 8:30 timeslot. These are slight increases over what a repeat “Frasier” netted at 8 p.m. (5.2/14, 12.98m) and the best comedy demos in the hour for NBC since October.

NBC’s comedies won each half-hour in adults 18-49, leading the net to its first Tuesday victory in the demo with regular programming since October.

‘Frasier’ key

The night’s results underscore the importance of “Frasier” to NBC’s overall lineup, and especially its Tuesday comedy block. It’s doubtful “Fitzgeralds” would have premiered to winning ratings without the boost of the multiple-Emmy winner, which locked up a $374 million, three-year deal with the Peacock earlier this week (Daily Variety, March 7).

Two months ago, “Frasier” also helped launch Tuesday laffer “Three Sisters,” which has been a solid performer ever since. This week, “Sisters,” at 9:30, retained a satisfactory 85% of its “Frasier” 18-49 lead-in (6.2/16 vs. 7.3/19), with the pair ranking as the top shows of the night in the demo.

“Fitzgeralds” figures to have a much tougher time next week when it’s asked to lead off the night for NBC, followed by “DAG.” Both will have to face Fox’s strong Tuesday comedies, which rested this week while the net aired a repeat of “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.”

“Third Rock From the Sun,” which had been airing on NBC at 8, will return next month.

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