ABC's '10-8' adds aud but Fox's games win

HOLLYWOOD — Sunday’s combination of an NFL overrun and the deciding fifth game of the baseball playoff series between the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves propelled Fox to its highest-rated night since May and a dominant victory in all key measures.

The WB’s “Tarzan,” meanwhile, failed to hunt down very many young-adult viewers with its preem, but another rookie drama, ABC’s “10-8,” saw a ratings spike in its second week.

Although reliable preliminary nationals from Nielsen are somewhat murky for Fox due to live sports, the final half-hour of National Football League action in primetime’s opening half-hour (Redskins-Eagles) averaged roughly a 7.1 rating in adults 18-49, and the baseball game averaged about a 5.5 rating among adults 18-49. In metered-market overnights, the baseball game’s 12.0 rating/18 share is the highest for a division series contest since 1995.

Overall, Fox’s 5.8 rating in 18-49 for Fox on Sunday is its best on any night since the finale of “American Idol 2″ on May 21, easily topping second-place ABC’s 3.5/9.

Counterprogramming

ABC cop drama “10-8″ seemed to benefit by Fox’s switch to baseball, as its second-place 3.4/9 in adults 18-49 was a significant improvement over the fourth-place 2.6/7 for its premiere of a week earlier. Show, which drew 9.3 million viewers overall, thus becomes the only Big Four first-year program of the fall season to improve its rating in its second outing.

“Alias” (4.3/10 in 18-49) ran third from 9 to 10 and “The Practice” (3.9/10 in 18-49) was the top nonsports choice at 10 in key demos.

CBS drama “Cold Case” (3.2/8 in adults 18-49, 13.7m) was down just a tick from its preem of a week earlier, building on its lead-in from “60 Minutes” (2.2/7 in 18-49, 12 million) by roughly 30% in 18-49. “Cold” topped all of its nonsports competish from 8 to 9 in adults 25-54 (4.3/10).

From 9 to 11, Mary Tyler Moore pic “Blessings” (2.9/7 in adults 18-49, 11.8 million viewers overall) lagged its rivals but was up vs. the Eye movie on the same night last season.

NBC took a big hit from 7 to 9, as a “Dateline” report on the California gubernatorial election bombed with viewers (1.5/5 in adults 18-49) and drama “American Dreams” (2.6/7) couldn’t recover at 8, falling to fourth.

Mixed bag

Peacock did better in the 9-10 hour with “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (a slot-leading 4.6/10 in 18-49, 14.2 million), but then fell off some with week two of legal drama “The Lyon’s Den” (3.4/8 in adults 18-49, 10.6m). “Lyon’s Den” was off about 20% from its week-earlier bow, and declined noticeably on the half-hour.

(Ratings for shows on both ABC and NBC from 8 to 11 could come down a tick or two, as their nets’ perfs in the fast-affiliate ratings included coverage of an NFL game on the ABC station in Pittsburgh and the NBC station in Cleveland.)

At the WB, its new series telling of the “Tarzan” legend, starring Travis Fimmel, averaged a 2.0/5 in adults 18-49 and 5.3 million viewers overall. Its 2.1/6 in adults 18-34 repped a 72% hold of its “Charmed” lead-in (2.9/6), leaving the net fourth for its hour.

Compared with the same night a year ago, “Charmed” was up (2.9 vs. 2.7 in 18-34) but “Tarzan” was down vs. “Angel” in the 9 o’clock slot (2.1 vs. 2.4).

“Tarzan” did rule as the top entertainment choice for the hour among male teens.

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