'Comic,' 'Nip' and 'Queer' shine

HOLLYWOOD — Ratings were merely OK for “The OC” on Tuesday, as the Fox drama — the first of the new television season’s series to debut — opened modestly opposite the finale of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.”

Busy night also saw FX’s “Nip/Tuck” edge up in its third week and Bravo’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” stay at roughly its week-ago series-high levels.

“The OC,” a well-reviewed soap starring Peter Gallagher and newcomer Benjamin McKenzie, averaged a 2.9/8 in adults 18-49 and 7.46 million viewers overall, according to Nielsen. It placed second in virtually all categories to the strong final hour of “Last Comic Standing” (4.4/13 in 18-49, 9.52m).

This is above what another original drama, “Keen Eddie,” averaged in the slot earlier this summer (2.2/6 in A18-49), but “Eddie” actually bowed stronger (3.2/9 in A18-49).

‘Juniors’ stronger

Fox had to be expecting a bigger splash given the big promotional push and buzz surrounding the show. If there was an encouraging sign it’s that “OC,” coming out of its “American Juniors” lead-in (2.6/9 in A18-49, 7.02m), built slightly in its second half-hour virtually across the board.

Overall, it scored a 3.0/9 in adults 18-34 and a 3.9/14 in teens. Surprisingly, it was balanced among genders, getting a 10 share in women 18-34 and a 9 share in men 18-34.

Looking to give “OC” more exposure prior to its second episode next week, Fox will replay the first episode twice: in its intended fall timeslot of Thursday at 9 as well as Monday at 8.

‘Comic’ standing tall

NBC, meanwhile, rolled on the night behind the two-hour “Last Comic” (3.7/11 in 18-49) and a dominant perf at 10 from “Law & Order: SVU” in its new slot (4.3/13). “Comic” built to a 16 share among adults 18-34 and topped 10 million viewers overall in the 9:30 half-hour.

CBS won the night’s opening hour with “Big Brother 4″ (3.6/12 in 18-49, 8.88m), but relationship show “Cupid” (2.4/7, 5.70m) fumbled that lead away and fell to fourth in 18-49 in its new timeslot.

Things figure to get easier for both “OC” and “Cupid” in coming weeks, as NBC shifts to specials and comedies in the 9 o’clock hour.

On the cable side, FX drama “Nip/ Tuck” grew its overall aud week-to-week (to 3.55 million) and was up a tick to a new high in 18-49 (1.8/5). It beat a repeat of CBS drama “Judging Amy” in 18-49 (1.5/4) and matched a repeat of ABC’s “NYPD Blue.”

In the same hour, Bravo’s “Queer Eye” (1.6/5 in A18-49, 2.68m) was flat in demos and down a smidge in total viewers (from 2.75m).

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