‘Shield’ shines on FX

Ratings rise as Close reports for duty

Boosted by the addition of Glenn Close to its cast, FX drama “The Shield” attracted nearly 4 million viewers for its fourth-season bow Tuesday — up sharply over last year.

The gritty cop show, which slumped in the ratings last season after two strong years, topped all original series on cable for the night, scoring a 1.8 national rating/5 share in adults 18-49 (2.34 million viewers in the demo), up from last season’s average (2.02m).

Total viewership for the 10 p.m. premiere was up 39% from the season-three opener (3.93m vs. 2.82m), ranking second on the night among all cable programs, behind a repeat of “Law & Order” on TNT (4.51m).

Numbers rep across-the-board improvement from the third season, which also bowed in March. However, its sophomore cycle still ranks as the skein’s highest-rated in 18-49.

‘Blind’ turn

Opposite “The Shield,” ABC’s “Blind Justice” (3.6/10 in 18-49, 10.51m) declined by 20% in the demo from its solid premiere, putting up numbers on par with this season’s “NYPD Blue” average in the 10 o’clock slot. It finished behind NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” repeat (3.9/10, 11.05m) but ahead of CBS’ firstrun “Judging Amy” (3.0/8, 10.31m).

While such a week-two falloff isn’t unusual for a new series, ABC might have hoped for a better perf opposite an “SVU” repeat. The Peacock vet came in 34% lower than the previous week, when it aired an original opposite the “Justice” premiere.

At CBS, “The Amazing Race 7” posted the best ratings in its three airings to date (5.0/12 in 18-49, 12.71m), placing second to Fox drama “House” (6.8/17 in 18-49, 17.33m). In total viewers, it’s the best showing for the Emmy-winning series since the finale of “Race 5.”

As for rookie medical drama “House,” it set more series records behind another huge “American Idol” perf (11.5/30 in 18-49, 28.43m) — including the best regular-program 18-49 rating for Fox in the Tuesday-at-9 hour since the series premiere of “Dark Angel” in 2000.

‘Starlet’ spark

And there was a glimmer of a spark for the WB’s unscripted series “The Starlet” (1.0/2 in 18-49, 2.28m), which built a bit week-to-week despite airing behind a repeat “Gilmore Girls.” It pulled a 5 share in femmes 12-34.

Over at Bravo, “Project Greenlight” attracted just 311,000 viewers — on par with the preem of “Project Runway” (354,000). Bravo execs expect auds for “Greenlight” to build over the coming weeks as they did for “Runway,” which wound up nabbing more than 2 million viewers for its finale.

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