ABC laffers deliver

Cubs playoff hits Fox ratings homer

HOLLYWOOD — ABC’s comedy block delivered more impressive numbers on the second Tuesday of the season, with the new “I’m With Her” holding up very well and “According to Jim” getting the best of “Frasier.”

Fox also hit a homer with its first postseason baseball game, as the Chicago Cubs proved to be a good ratings draw.

According to Nielsen Media Research, the second of the final three episodes of “8 Simple Rules” featuring the late John Ritter ranked as Tuesday’s top-rated program in adults 18-49 (6.2/19), down from last week but well ahead of all others in the 8 o’clock timeslot.

New romantic comedy “I’m With Her” (5.3/15 in A18-49, 11.96 million viewers overall) retained a potent 85% of the “Rules” 18-49 lead-in, topping premiere week’s 81%.

From 9 to 10, both “According to Jim” (5.5/14) and “Less Than Perfect” (4.6/12) also led their slots in 18-49, with the former giving ABC its best regular-program perf on Tuesday at 9 since September 2001 and the latter hitting a series high.

At 10 ABC’s “NYPD Blue” (4.0/11 in adults 18-49, 10.44m) was up week-to-week, closing the gap with NBC’s slot-leading “Law & Order: SVU” (4.9/13 in adults 18-49). CBS drama “Judging Amy” was well behind in 18-49 (2.8/7) but led the hour in total viewers (11.81m).

ABC wins in 18-49

ABC captured primetime in 18-49 (4.9/13), with NBC (4.1/11) and Fox (4.0/11) battling for second. CBS led in total viewers (12 million).

For NBC, “Frasier” again looked solid at 9 (second-place 4.6/12 in adults 18-49) and the second-season premiere of “Good Morning Miami” on its new night retained a healthy 91% of that aud (4.2/11 in 18-49). From 8 to 9, both “Whoopi” (3.0/9) and “Happy Family” (3.2/9) were on pace with last week’s scores and placed third.

New CBS drama “Navy NCIS” (2.6/7 in A18-49, 12.12m) was flat week-to-week and again placed second in 25-54, while “The Guardian” (2.6/7 in A18-49, 12.12m) was also flat with its preem.

UPN and the WB finished the night tied among adults 18-34 (1.8/5), with both showing some week-to-week growth.

At UPN, “All of Us” achieved a new high with its third episode (2.4/8 in 18-34), beating out the second half of the WB’s “Gilmore Girls” (2.3/8). And although “Rock Me Baby” (1.6/5 in 18-34) and “The Mullets” (1.3/4) aren’t doing great numbers, they mark an upgrade in the 9 o’clock hour over last season’s short-lived “Haunted” (1.1/3)

‘Tree’ ratings grow

The WB’s new drama “One Tree Hill” was up sharply over its anemic bow of a week earlier, including 56% in 18-34 (1.4/4), finishing in a virtual tie with UPN for the hour and dominating in female teens (5.2/19). Lead-in “Gilmore Girls” was up a tick week-to-week in 18-34 from its soft preem (2.2/7).

As for Fox’s baseball, the Cubs-Atlanta Braves contest became the most-watched Division Series opener ever with 10.86 million viewers. In adults 18-49, its 4.1/12 is the best for any DS game since the American League’s deciding fifth game in 2001 (Athletics-Yankees).

This bodes well for Fox, especially if the underdog Cubs can go far.

And on the cable side, FX’s “Nip/Tuck” delivered another strong showing opposite the broadcast nets, with its 1.8 rating in adults 18-49 (2.34 million viewers in the demo), a 5% improvement on its season average.

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