‘Betty’ turns heads

Laffer lures auds to ABC

One week after “Grey’s Anatomy” shook things up on Thursday, the net’s one-hour comedy “Ugly Betty” opened to quite attractive numbers, keeping the Alphabet narrowly on top for the night among young adults.

While ABC edged out CBS in adults 18-49, the Eye moved to the top in adults 25-54 and total viewers as “CSI” gained some ground on “Grey’s Anatomy.” The Alphabet’s “Six Degrees,” meanwhile, looks shaky while the Eye’s “Shark” held steady.

According to nationals from Nielsen, the well-reviewed “Ugly Betty” averaged a second-place 5.0 rating/14 share in adults 18-49 and 16.32 million viewers overall — double what the net did with “Alias” in the hour a year ago and ABC’s best demo result here with a regular scripted series since the series preem of “My So Called Life” in 1995.

“Betty” was a broad success, delivering a 15 share in adults 25-54, a 13 share in adults 18-34 and a 17 share in adults 50-plus. CBS’ “Survivor: Cook Islands” remained on top in the opening hour in key demos (5.9/16 in 18-49, 16.85m), but “Betty” wasn’t far behind in total viewers.

“Betty’s” preem means ABC has delivered three of the fall’s four top premiere scores in 18-49. It’s also the most-watched newbie preem overall.

In the heavyweight 9 o’clock battle, ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” (9.5/23 in 18-49, 23.48m from 9 to 10:02 p.m.) declined from its premiere while CBS’ “CSI” (8.0/19 in 18-49, 23.77m) was on the rise. “Grey’s” remained on top in 18-49 and 25-54 while “CSI” moved ahead in total viewers.

And at 10, NBC’s “ER” (6.1/17, 14.36m) was down from its premiere but still led comfortably in demos over CBS’ “Shark” (4.2/11, 14.64m) and ABC’s “Six Degrees” (4.1/11, 10.15m from 10:02 to 11 p.m.). “Shark” held steady or rose slightly in various categories week-to-week, while “Six Degrees” fell by more than 20%.

NBC also was down from 8 to 10 with “My Name Is Earl” (3.4/10 in 18-49, 8.19m), “The Office” (3.8/10, 7.78m) and “Deal or No Deal” (3.2/8, 9.46m). The comedy competish from “Ugly Betty” seemed to affect the Peacock’s laffers.

Fox’s “‘Til Death” (fourth-place 2.4/7 in 18-49, 5.72m) was up a couple of ticks week-to-week, but the net’s “Celebrity Duets” again drew tiny numbers at 9 (1.5/4, 4.09m).

The CW got off to a good start with its former WB Thursday tandem of “Smallville” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 4.96m) and “Supernatural” (1.7/4 in 18-49, 3.93m), matching their best 18-34 average (2.2/6) since being paired together last March on the WB.

Despite facing considerably tougher drama competish, “Supernatural” came in 46% ahead of last year’s “Everwood” premiere in the timeslot (1.9/5 to 1.3/3).

It was another tight battle once again on Friday, meanwhile, between NBC and CBS. Nets both nabbed a 10 share in 18-49 and an 11 share in 25-54, with the Eye on top in total viewers (10.5 million to 9.7 million), according to Nielsen prelims.

Of note was CBS drama “Ghost Whisperer” (prelim 2.9/11 in 18-49, 9.6 million viewers overall) moving ahead of NBC’s “Deal or No Deal” (2.7/10 in 18-49, 10.4 million) in demos.

NBC then moved to the demo lead at 9 with “Dateline: To Catch a Predator” (prelim 3.2/10 in 18-49, 8.9 million) over the Eye’s “Close to Home” (2.6/8 in 18-49, 11.2 million), which was the night’s most-watched program overall for a second straight week.

ABC’s “Men in Trees” (prelim 2.1/7 in 18-49, 6.9 million) was down week-to-week, but it did build on its “Grey’s Anatomy” repeat lead-in (prelim 1.9/7, 5.7 million).

And things were very tight in the 10 o’clock hour between the Peacock’s “Law & Order” (3.1/10 in 18-49, 10.0 million) and CBS’ “Numbers” (prelim 3.0/10, 10.7 million). ABC’s “20/20” (prelim 2.6/8 in 18-49, 7.5 million) was up vs. premiere week but remained third.

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