Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

ABC comedy “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter” returned to the airwaves Tuesday and drew nearly 21 million viewers, according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen. The hourlong episode incorporated the real-life death of John Ritter into the show.

From 8 to 9, “8 Simple Rules” (8.1/21 in adults 18-49, 20.6 million viewers overall) dominated in all ratings categories with series-high scores. The comedies that followed, “According to Jim” (6.1/15 in adults 18-49, 15.1 million viewers overall) and “Less Than Perfect” (4.8/12 in adults 18-49, 11.2 million viewers overall), also led their slots in 18-49.

NBC ran a strong second to ABC for the night among adults 18-49, paced by the best results since April for 10 o’clock drama “Law & Order: SVU” (5.6/15 in adults 18-49, 13.2 million viewers overall), which topped in all key demos its drama rivals “NYPD Blue” on ABC (3.8/10 in adults 18-49, 10.9 million viewers overall) and “Judging Amy” on CBS (3.3/9 in adults 18-49, 13.6 million viewers overall).

The Peacock also was solid from 8 to 10 with a 90-minute “Fear Factor” (4.9/10 in adults 18-49, 11.2 million viewers overall) and “Frasier” at 9:30 (4.5/11 in adults 18-49, 10.5 million viewers overall).

CBS was paced by “Judging Amy’s” season-high scores at 10, as the wedding episode of the drama won its hour in total viewers.

Fox’s “24” finished third for the 9 o’clock hour in adults 18-49 (3.7/9, 8.6 million viewers overall).

Prelim 18-49 averages: ABC, 5.8/15; NBC, 5.0/13; CBS, 2.9/8; Fox, 2.8/7; WB, 1.6/4; UPN, 1.2/3.

In total viewers: ABC, 14.9 million; CBS, 12.6 million; NBC, 11.7 million; Fox, 6.3 million; WB, 4.5 million; UPN, 3.2 million.

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