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‘SVU,’ ‘Earl’ power Peacock

Morning Ratings Flash -- Rick Kissell

The winning combination of veteran drama “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and new comedy “My Name is Earl” lifted NBC past its rivals in key young-adult categories on Tuesday, a night where several series improved in the ratings due to the absence of Fox dramas.

As Fox shifted to baseball, both “My Name is Earl” (5.9 rating/15 share in adults 18-49, 12.9 million viewers overall) and ABC’s “Commander in Chief” (4.8/12 in 18-49, 16.6 million viewers overall) were up more than 10% vs. last week when they faced “House” in the 9 o’clock hour. NBC’s “The Office” was also up (3.9/9 in 18-49, 8.2 million viewers overall) but placed third in demos.

In the night’s opening hour, CBS drama “NCIS” hit series highs (4.3/12 in 18-49, 16.3 million viewers overall) thanks in part to not having to face Fox’s “Bones.” NBC’s “Biggest Loser” was the runner-up in the time period (3.4/9 in 18-49, 8.3 million viewers overall), also up more than 10% week-to-week.

Also for CBS, “Amazing Race 8” was solid from 9 to 10 (4.2/10 11.4 million viewers overall) but was down from its premiere. And at 10, the series premiere of crime drama “Close to Home” settled for third place (3.2/8 in 18-49, 10.4 million viewers overall) but did outperform last year’s “Judging Amy” average.

Opposite “Home” at 10, “Law & Order: SVU” (6.1/13 in 18-49, 15.7 million viewers overall) delivered its highest rating since Jan. 11, easily topping second-place ABC’s “Boston Legal” (3.7/9 in 18-49, 11.9 million viewers overall), which was up week-to-week.

Reliable numbers weren’t available for Fox’s opening game of the baseball playoffs pitting the New York Yankees against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, but the affiliate-based average from 8 to 11 p.m. was a 3.1/8 in 18-49 and 8.2 million viewers overall.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 4.8/12; CBS, 3.9/10; ABC, 3.7/10; Fox, 3.1/8; WB, 2.5/6; UPN, 1/3.

In total viewers: CBS, 12.7 million; ABC, 12.1 million; NBC, 11.5 million; Fox, 8.2 million; WB, 5.6 million; UPN, 2.2 million.

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