No ratings ball for new shows

'Pitts,' 'Sash' and hoops disappoint

Fox’s new family comedy “The Pitts” failed to light up the ratings Sunday, while CBS continued to see steep year-to-year declines for its coverage of college basketball’s tournament.

And the WB’s new martial-arts drama “Black Sash” didn’t exactly karate-chop the competish either.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, Fox’s “The Pitts” averaged a 3.8/8 in adults 18-49 and 9 million viewers overall, retaining 81% of its first-place demo lead-in from “Malcolm in the Middle” (4.7/11) and placing third in its 9:30 slot.

The net’s other new comedy on the night, “Oliver Beene” at 8:30, retained 83% of its 18-49 lead-in from “The Simpsons” (4.4/10 vs. 5.3/13) and led its slot in the demo. In its first two outings, “Beene” retained 100% and 86% of “The Simpsons.”

Prelim nationals weren’t available for the WB’s “Black Sash,” but the Russell Wong starrer scored a 3.3 household rating/5 share in Nielsen’s metered-market overnights, retaining a soft 72% of its lead-in from a firstrun “Charmed” (4.6/7). “Sash” also saw its rating drop in the second half-hour — not a good sign.

In the night’s key drama battles, NBC’s “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (4.9/11 in A18-49) held off ABC’s “Alias” (4.6/10) at 9, and the Peacock’s “Boomtown” (3.7/10) again got the best of the Alphabet’s “Dragnet” (3.3/8).

As for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on CBS, ratings continue to come in roughly 20% behind last year’s pace.

Sunday’s first game (Syracuse-Oklahoma) produced a 5.0/10 in metered-market overnight household ratings, a 21% dropoff vs. the parallel Kansas-Oregon matchup last year. And the late game, in which Texas outlasted Michigan State, delivered a tournament-best 7.3/13 (down 17% vs. last year’s Maryland-Connecticut tussle).

The ratings news was a bit better on Saturday for CBS, as a pair of nail-biters came closer to last year’s ratings levels. The Marquette-Kentucky contest (5.8/12 in overnights) was off 9% vs. the parallel matchup from last year, while the Kansas-Arizona game (6.8/12) was down by 8%.

Coverage continues Saturday with semifinals pitting Texas against Syracuse and Marquette against Kansas.

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