‘Fastlane’ for Fox

Buddy-cop drama, 'Cedric' give net a win

“Fastlane” didn’t burn rubber out of the blocks Wednesday night but it did rev up some pretty good numbers for Fox, which also received hearty ratings news from the preem of variety show “Cedric the Entertainer Presents.”

Overall, it was a solid, winning but unspectacular, night for Fox, as tougher competition looms next week.

Wednesday also saw the series premiere of UPN’s new “The Twilight Zone” post promising numbers following “Enterprise,” while the third “Latin Grammy Awards” were pretty much a La Bomb-a on CBS.

According to Nielsen, the Warner Bros. Television series “Fastlane,” a beneficiary of heavy Fox promotion during “American Idol” this summer, averaged a timeslot-leading 4.9 rating/13 share in adults 18-49 and a 5.2/16 in adults 18-34 in the 9 o’clock hour. Among total viewers, its average of 9.99 million placed second to repeats of ABC’s “My Wife and Kids.”

Buddy-cop drama fared best among men 18-34 (6.1/19) and saw its male audience increase and its femme aud decrease on the half-hour. Overall, the series maintained or slightly expanded its audience from the first half-hour to the second.

A strength among males could be a good sign for “Fastlane,” as its competition in upcoming weeks, while tough, figures to be female-skewed.

At 8:30, Twentieth Television skein “Cedric” (10.39m, 4.7/14) posted numbers almost identical to its lead-in, the season preem of “Bernie Mac” (10.16m, 4.6/14), suggesting that Fox has a compatible block leading off the night. “Cedric” also improved slightly on “Bernie” in adults 18-34 (4.7/15 vs. 4.6/16), with both easily winning their slots.

The second-season premiere of “Bernie” was strong but not robust in its new 8 p.m. slot, grabbing the best 18-49 rating for a Fox comedy in the half-hour since the series premiere of “That ’80s Show” last January.

Next week, “Bernie” and “Cedric” do battle with the one-hour season premiere of ABC’s “My Wife and Kids,” the incumbent timeslot leader.

For the night, Fox won in adults 18-49 (4.8/14) but was down slightly from its Wednesday premieres last season, which included the first two episodes of “Bernie Mac.”

At UPN, “Twilight Zone” delivered a 4.6/7 in metered-market overnights, an impressive 94% hold of its “Enterprise” lead-in (4.9/8). National ratings weren’t issued Thursday due to a Nielsen processing error involving Los Angeles and perhaps additional markets.

On CBS, the “Latin Grammys” nearly fell off the Nielsen charts, averaging just 3.99 million viewers from 9 to 11 and losing audience with every half-hour. From 10 to 11 its audience of 3.3 million is likely the smallest ever for CBS in the hour.

At 8 on CBS, “Big Brother 3” (9.40m, 4.1/12 in A18-49) placed second to the Fox comedy premieres in key demos.

ABC was a solid second on the night with two hours of “My Wife and Kids” repeats, which did especially well from 9 to 10 against “Fastlane,” and a new spec, “Christopher Reeve: Courageous Steps” (9.35m, 3.7/10).

A repeat of NBC’s “Law & Order” ranked as the night’s No. 1 program in adults 18-49 (5.0/14).

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