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‘Wing’ sings for Peacock

'Jim' surprises while 'Enterprise' keeps trekking

Auds turned out in record-setting numbers Wednesday for a special episode of NBC’s “The West Wing,” as the Emmy-winning drama teamed with similarly record-high marks for “Law & Order” to lift the net to an easy victory.

ABC also had a solid night, thanks in large part to a surprisingly strong debut perf from Jim Belushi comedy “According to Jim,” while UPN’s “Enterprise” held up well in its second try and CBS’ “The Amazing Race” rebounded in its fourth week.

As for “West Wing,” its initial first-run episode of the season — a seg about terrorism written following the Sept. 11 attacks — averaged a best-ever 9.8 rating/24 share in adults 18-49 and 25.24 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Demo dynamo

It’s the best demo score for NBC in the hour with regular programming since May 1992 (“Night Court”) and its largest overall aud since March 1989 (“Night Court”/”My Two Dads”).

And at 10, “Law & Order” closed out the night with the largest aud in its 12 seasons (22.55 million), 1 million viewers more than its previous high (21.55m, set in May). “Law’s” 18-49 rating (8.9/23) is its second best ever.

NBC captured the night by all key measures, delivering its second-highest 18-49 rating on a Wednesday with regular series (7.2/19) since January 1993 and its second largest overall aud (18.1 million) since February 1994.

‘Jim’ jump

ABC, which was a distant second on the night by most measures, was led by the 8:30 premiere of “According to Jim” (12.72m, 5.7/15), which dominated its half-hour in key demos and built on its “My Wife and Kids” lead-in (11.90m, 4.9/15) by 16% in 18-49 and by 13% in adults 18-34.

The strong start for “Jim” is a bit surprising given its poor reviews, but it may be the case of the right show in the right slot on the right net. Teamed with “My Wife and Kids,” family laffer “Jim” could give ABC a potent leadoff block on the night.

For the hour, ABC topped second- place UPN by 15% in adults 18-49, while the Eye’s “60 Minutes II” won in total viewers (12.74m).

Rest of ABC’s lineup held up well opposite the NBC avalanche, as “Drew Carey” (4.9/12), “Whose Line Is It Anyway” (4.4/10) and “20/20” (4.3/11) each placed second to NBC in 18-49.

Keep on Trekkin’

UPN’s “Enterprise” (9.18m, 4.6/13) retained an impressive 73% of its premiere 18-49 rating (4.6 vs. 6.3), finishing second to ABC in the 8 o’clock hour. That 27% falloff is better than the 33% drop that “Star Trek: Voyager” experienced with the first episode following its premiere on UPN in 1995.

“Enterprise” won its hour in all adult male demos.

At 9, the second-season debut of drama “Special Unit 2” (4.71m, 2.0/5) held only 43% of its “Enterprise” 18-49 lead-in, but that was still enough to keep the net second for the night in men 18-34.

CBS got encouraging ratings from “Amazing Race” (8.70m, 3.9/10 in A18-49), which was up week to week by 8% in adults 18-49 and delivered the net’s best in-season score in the hour with regular programming since May 2000 (conclusion of mini “Jesus”).

That’s still a third-place finish in 18-49, but a positive sign after tough competition from the previous week (“Enterprise,” Fox’s “Love Cruise”) sent “Race” to fifth place in the demo.

‘Wolf’ nabs young

And at 10, the Eye’s “Wolf Lake” is slowly finding a young aud opposite “Law” and ABC’s “Primetime.”

Although it has declined since its Sept. 5 premiere in broader measures, “Wolf” (6.70m, 2.8/7 in 18-49) has built each week in teens and adults 18-34. Its adults 18-34 rating Wednesday (2.5/7) is up 9% from last week and 14% better than its premiere.

Elsewhere, NBC’s “Lost” (6.6m, 2.9/8 in A18-49) ended its three-episode run with an uptick (up 12% week to week in 18-49), although some of the gains may have been due to pre-“West Wing” tune-in.

Fox had a mostly forgettable night, as “Grounded for Life” (5.89m, 3.0/8), surrounded by three repeat comedies, fell to fifth in its half-hour.

The WB did OK with its first airing of theatrical “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” (3.36m, 1.1/3). Frog’s “Dawson’s Creek” and “Felicity” bow next week.

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