Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

NBC moved into a tie with Fox among adults 18-49, according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, as “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” recorded another timeslot record (5.4/12) and dominated its broadcast competish in the 9 o’clock hour.

Compared to the same night a year ago, “CI” was up a big 29% in the demo. Net’s “Dateline” (3.6/10), “American Dreams” (4.0/10) and “Boomtown” (3.7/9) also each improved their timeslots’ perf of last season.

Fox saw a disappointing season premiere for “Futurama” (2.5/7 in 18-49), which aired opposite an NFL overrun on CBS and placed fourth in its slot. “The Simpsons” (5.9/15) and “King of the Hill” (5.0/12) also led their slots, but “Malcolm in the Middle” (4.0/9) fell to second at 9 – well behind NBC’s “Law & Order: CI” (4.0/9 vs. 5.2/12).

Reliable prelim nationals weren’t available for early-evening CBS programs due to a nearly one-hour NFL overrun in most of the country (Patriots-Bears), but “Master Spy: The Robert Hanssen Story” (prelim 2.9/7 in 18-49, 10.4 million viewers overall) became the net’s latest made-for flop. Pic lost audience with each half-hour.

ABC received a solid showing for the network preem of “Beauty and the Beast” (3.7/10 in 18-49, 11.8 million viewers overall), but saw subpar results for its drama combo of “Alias” (3.8/9 in 18-49) and “The Practice” (4.4/11).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 4.2/10; Fox, 4.2/10; ABC, 3.9/10; CBS, 3.8/9.

Preliminary total-viewer averages for the night: CBS, 13.2 million; NBC, 12.8 million; ABC, 11.4 million; Fox 9.5 million.

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