'People's Choice' up from last year's Sunday telecast

FX drama “The Shield” shows no signs of slowing down, apprehending more than 3.4 million viewers Tuesday with its fifth-season premiere.

Standing as the day’s top-rated cablecast, “The Shield” averaged a 1.7 rating/5 share in adults 18-49 (roughly 2.25 million viewers), just 5% lower than last year’s big opener, which was juiced by the debut of Glenn Close’s arc.

It comes in as the top-rated season premiere of any cable original for the 2005-06 campaign, although another FX drama, “Nip/Tuck,” had a higher season average in 18-49.

Usually a very male-skewing skein, “The Shield” opened to an 18-49 audience roughly 45% female. Aud for Tuesday’s preem was also younger than that of recent bows, with nearly two-thirds of all viewers (3.41 million) coming in the 18-49 age bracket.

On the broadcast side Tuesday, a different network led with a drama in each hour: CBS’ “NCIS” at 8 (4.0/11 in 18-49, 17.19m); Fox’s “House” at 9 (5.7/14, 14.83m); and NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” at 10 (5.6/14, 14.72m). Not faring so well opposite “House” was ABC’s “Commander in Chief” (2.8/7, 11.40m), which hit a firstrun low with its first new seg in six weeks.

The 32nd annual “People’s Choice Awards” on CBS (3.4/8 in 18-49, 9.75m) were up a tick year to year in some demos, so the kudocast at least stopped the bleeding after hitting an all-time ratings low last year with its Sunday telecast.

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