Gameshow bow wins its hour

HOLLYWOOD — ABC’s alternative series “You Don’t Know Jack” got off to a decent start Wednesday, winning its hour with back-to-back episodes and helping bring more young viewers to the net.

The comedy/gameshow, hosted by Paul Reubens and based on a CD-ROM game, averaged 7.90 million viewers and an adults 18-49 rating of 3.3/12 from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., according to Nielsen. These are encouraging preem scores, but Wednesday’s leadoff hour is one of ABC’s stronger timeslots anyway and “Jack” didn’t face much competish.

Key demo success

More significant for ABC is that “Jack” won its hour handily in adults 18-34 (3.3/13), a demo that became more elusive for the net this season with a lineup that aged alongside “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”

A strong start in the opening hour on Wednesday, for example, helped ABC win the night in adults 18-34 by 38% over second-place NBC (2.9/10 vs. 2.1/7), its largest margin of victory on the night since November.

“Jack” lost some older viewers in its second half-hour, as its overall audience slipped from 8.13 million at 8 p.m. to 7.68 million at 8:30, but it gained nicely in key demos — including a 22% jump in women 18-34 (3.9/13 from 3.2/12).

Beginning next week, a half-hour episode of “Jack” will air at 8:30, sandwiched by a pair of “Drew Carey” repeats.

In other firstrun programming on Wednesday, Fox’s two-hour music spec “Teenapolooza” (4.16m, 1.7/6 in A18-49), plunged to the net’s weakest Wednesday marks since last August. It did pretty well with its target teen aud, though, grabbing a winning 3.4/16.

CBS comedy “Ladies Man,” in its third week back on the air, logged solid second-place finishes at 8:30 (6.98m, 2.7/9 in A18-49), building slightly on a “King of Queens” repeat; not having to face Fox’s laffers certainly helped.

And at 10, it was more record-low timeslot numbers for new ABC newsroom drama “The Beast” (4.45m, 1.8/6), which declined by more than 30% from its anemic premiere scores of a week earlier.

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