Morning Ratings Flash -- Rick Kissell

The second Tuesday of the season was hotly contested, with NBC, CBS and Fox in a virtual three-way tie for the lead among young adults, according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen. ABC was also a factor in the night’s middle hour with a solid premiere for “Commander in Chief.”

NBC led easily at 10 o’clock with “Law & Order: SVU” (5.1 rating/13 share in adults 18-49, 14.9 million viewers overall) and was the preliminary 18-49 leader at 9 with “My Name is Earl” (4.9/12, 11.1 million viewers overall) despite its expected week-two falloff (roughly 25%). Net fell off to fourth at 9:30, though, with “The Office” (3.6/8 in 18-49, 7.2 million viewers overall), although the second-year laffer’s retention was better than last week. From 8 to 9, “The Biggest Loser” (3.0/9 in 18-49, 7.4 million viewers overall) tied for second.

ABC got a nice turnout for its political family drama “Commander in Chief” (4.3/10 in 18-49, 16.2 million viewers overall), which was in a battle for second at 9 o’clock in 18-49 and won its hour in adults 25-54 and total viewers. It was the standout of the night for the net, whose “According to Jim” placed fourth in 18-49 from 8 to 9 (2.8/8 in 18-49, 7.9 million viewers overall); “Boston Legal” placed third with its season preem at 10 (3.4/9 in 18-49, 12.6 million viewers overall).

CBS was again the slot leader at 8 with “NCIS” (3.4/10 in 18-49, 14.6 million viewers overall), and the family edition of “Amazing Race” got off to a solid start from 9 to 11 (4.4/11, 10.7 million viewers overall).

Fox was on par with its week-earlier scores, with “Bones” at 8 (3.0/9 in 18-49, 7.6 million viewers overall) and “House” at 9 (5.0/12 in 18-49, 13.1 million viewers overall); latter won its hour in 18-49.

And UPN put up minuscule numbers at 9 with the preem of “Sex, Love & Secrets” (0.5/1 in 18-49, 1.4 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 4.1/11; Fox, 4.0/11; CBS, 4.0/10; ABC, 3.5/9; WB, 2.2/6; UPN, 0.9/2.

In total viewers: ABC, 12.2 million; CBS, 12.0 million; NBC, 10.5 million; Fox, 10.3 million; WB, 5.0 million; UPN, 2.2 million.

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