Peacock takes night in adults 18-49, total viewers

HOLLYWOOD — The return of “Law & Order” helped NBC capture another Wednesday in primetime ratings, but ABC and the WB are turning up the heat.

According to Nielsen, the Peacock net won the night among adults 18-49 (5.3/14) and total viewers (15.3 million) but was down considerably from its first full night of dramas last season.

ABC, WB catching up

Chipping away at the Peacock were ABC and the WB, which are making inroads among adults 18-34. The Alphabet looked solid from 8 to 10 with “My Wife and Kids” and the second-season premieres of “George Lopez” and “The Bachelor,” while the WB scored big with a two-hour opener for vet “Dawson’s Creek.”

Fox made it somewhat easier on both ABC and the WB by airing postseason baseball instead of entertainment series.

On a total primetime basis, the WB finished on top in adults 18-34 (4.3/13) — the first time in network history it has accomplished this feat two nights in a row — while ABC led the way from 8 to 10 in adults 18-34 (5.1/15) and women 18-49 (6.5/17).

The 18-34 rating for “Dawson’s Creek” is the best since its 1998 preem.

‘Bachelor’ beats ‘Race’

In the 9 o’clock battle of reality series, ABC’s season premiere of “The Bachelor” (10.98m, 4.9/12 in A18-49) topped the premiere of CBS’ latest edition of “The Amazing Race” (9.49m, 3.9/10). “Bachelor” was up vs. its March premiere last season, while “Race” was about on par with last year.

“Bachelor” finished second to NBC’s “The West Wing” (16.70m, 5.4/13) in adults 18-49 and total viewers, but beat the drama by a convincing 54% in adults 18-34 (5.4/15 to 3.5/10).

ABC took the night’s opening hour, as “George Lopez” (11.44m, 4.7/13) retained 87% of its 18-49 lead-in from “My Wife and Kids” (13.72m, 5.4/16). Net didn’t close out the night very well, though, as new 10 p.m. drama “MDs” (6.88m, 2.9/8 in A18-49) trailed CBS’ “Presidio Med” (7.90m, 3.0/8).

Rule of ‘Law’

And both “Presidio” and “MDs” were well behind NBC’s “Law & Order” (19.12m, 7.0/19), which built by 30% on its demo lead-in from “West Wing” (16.70m, 5.4/13), which is off to a slow start this season.

UPN’s male-skewing combo of “Enterprise” (2.5/7 in 18-49) and “Twilight Zone” (1.8/5) surprisingly rebounded week-to-week opposite baseball. “Enterprise” earned its best scores in three tries this season, while “Twilight” was up 38% week-to-week.

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