ABC dances to ratings win

'Stars' brings in best numbers

ABC waltzed to ratings victory Tuesday night, as the Alphabet net’s “Dancing With the Stars” competish shimmied up its best premiere numbers yet.

The third edition of “Dancing,” which aired over two hours, cabbage-patched to a 5.7 rating/15 share in adults 18-49 — up 19% over its second-season premiere in January (4.8/12). Coming off a rough summer in which none of ABC’s new reality entries gained traction, launch gave net execs reason to break into a jig.

For the night, ABC averaged a 5.1/14 in adults 18-49 and 17.5 million viewers overall. Fueled by “House,” Fox was second in the demo (4.6/12) and viewers (12.1 million) and won the night in adults 18-34 (4.4/13).

Alphabet web’s perf repped its top-rated Tuesday night with adults 18-49 in almost three years and its most-watched Tuesday (excluding sports) in nearly five.

The “Dancing” rating was the show’s third-best ever, topped only by its season one and season two finales.

“Dancing” grew through the night, peaking with a 6.8/17 in its fourth half-hour. That provided a strong lead-in to new drama “Men in Trees,” which ABC launched with a sneak preview Tuesday night (show moves to its regular Friday slot next week).

“Men in Trees” did so-so, posting a 3.6/10 — better than “Boston Legal’s” average there last season but a big drop from its “Dancing” lead-in. The Anne Heche starrer also declined in its second half-hour but won its timeslot against repeat competish.

Over at Fox, the second episode of “House” this season faced tougher competition than last week, dropping 19% from its preem but settling in at a still-stellar 5.9/17. That was good enough to win the first hour in adults 18-49 against “Dancing” and pull off the top rating of the night for any telecast.

Meanwhile, the second seg of Fox’s frosh drama “Standoff” pulled a 3.3/9 in the 9 p.m. hour, dipping 30% from its premiere and holding on to just 59% of its “House” lead-in.

The all-star edition of CBS’ “Big Brother” wrapped things up Tuesday night with a 3.1/9 — identical to the “Big Brother” finale last summer. The grand $500,000 prize was awarded to a contestant who refers to himself as “Mike Boogie” and was part of an on-air clique whose members called themselves “Chill Town.”

At 9 p.m., the penultimate episode of “Rock Star: Supernova” (or whatever the band will be called post-litigation) averaged a 3.5/9, down a tick from last week due to the strong “Dancing” competish. “RS:S” revealed the winning rocker on Wednesday night’s finale.

Eye was third on Tuesday in adults 18-49 (2.9/8) and viewers (7.6 million).

Over at NBC, it was the end of an era: “Fear Factor” aired one last episode on the net, although not too many people noticed (1.8/5). Repeats of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and “Law & Order: SVU” did slightly better, allowing the Peacock to finish the night with a 2.3/6 in the demo and 6.7 million viewers.

As for the weblet race to oblivion, UPN (which is now operating sans any affiliate in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and other major cities) has the edge when it comes to potentially hitting a 0.0 rating before the week is up.

It came close Tuesday night, posting a 0.2/1 in the demo and 470,000 viewers overall. The WB, which is still on the air in top markets, posted a 0.6/2 with young adults and 1.6 million viewers overall.

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