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'Heroes' reveals Peacock's superpowers

NBC’s “Heroes” is shaping up to be not only the fall’s hottest new series but also the Peacock’s highest-rated frosh drama in years.

Monday, in its sixth airing, the story about ordinary people who discover they have extraordinary abilities established series highs and delivered the best demo rating for any rookie show in two seasons.

Peacock hasn’t achieved better ratings with a new drama since the premiere of “Ed” in 2000 and hasn’t consistently rated this high with a new drama since “Providence” in 1999.

Also of note Monday was a cable record for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” matchup between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys; over at CBS, however, “The Class” isn’t making the grade in its new slot.

According to in-home viewing estimates by Nielsen, “Heroes” (6.3 rating/15 share in adults 18-49, 14.45 million viewers overall) surged to season highs by rising 11% week to week. Show may have benefited from a three-episode mini-marathon that aired Sunday night on NBC.

Biggest gains have come among men 18-34, where Monday’s score (6.6/18) reps a 32% improvement over its Sept. 18 premiere (5.0/15).

No new drama has delivered a higher first-year 18-49 rating since ABC’s “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives” two seasons ago. (NBC’s “Medium” also peaked at a 6.3 with its second airing in January 2005).

“Heroes” tied “Monday Night Football” (6.3/17, 16.03m) as the evening’s top program in 18-49, edging out CBS drama “CSI: Miami” (6.1/15, 17.83m), which drew the most viewers overall for any show.

ESPN, in its first season of “MNF,” has been establishing network records this fall, but Monday’s game goes on record as the most-watched basic cable program to date. Prior record had been set by an edition of CNN’s “Larry King Live” in November 1993 featuring a debate between Ross Perot and Al Gore.

Elsewhere Monday, CBS started the night well with “How I Met Your Mother” (3.6/10 in 18-49, 9.59m), but auds played hooky when “The Class” came on (2.9/7, 7.95m), as the first-year half-hour held just 81% of its lead-in — compared with 91% last week.

Many of those viewers likely headed for “Monday Night Football” or NBC’s “Deal or No Deal” (4.5/12, 15.83m), with the latter spiking significantly in the 8:30 half-hour.

Fox’s “Prison Break” came back on the low side (3.3/9 in 18-49, 8.53m), while “Justice” (2.1/5, 6.22m) performed about the same as former slot occupant “Vanished.”

The CW’s comedy lineup has yet to gel, averaging a 1.3/4 in 18-34, led by “Girlfriends.”

At 10, NBC’s “Studio 60” (3.2/8 in 18-49, 7.72m) gained a tick week to week despite the larger gains for its “Heroes” lead-in. And ABC’s “What About Brian” dipped (2.7/7, 5.98m) in its third week.

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