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‘Dancing’ dynamite for ABC

Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

HOLLYWOOD — The final performance edition of this season’s “Dancing With the Stars” delivered monster ratings Tuesday night for ABC, racking up the second-best scores to date for the skein and attracting the largest overall audience for any program this fall.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, the final performances of Mario Lopez and Emmitt Smith averaged a boffo 7.5 rating/20 share in adults 18-49 and 26.7 million viewers overall, peaking with an 8.4 rating in the demo and nearly 29 million viewers in its final half-hour. Only the finale of the second edition of the series, last February on a Sunday, has fared better (8.6/19 in 18-49, 27.2 million viewers overall). The one-hour finale of “Dancing,” with the winner unveiled, was on tap for Wednesday night.

Following “Dancing,” ABC averaged a 3.9/11 in 18-49 and 12.5 million viewers overall from 9:30 to 11 for a special preview of William Shatner-hosted gameshow “Show Me the Money.” By its final half-hour, it was down to a 2.9 rating in the demo. Series will be airing in Wednesday’s opening hour beginning Nov. 15.

At CBS, “NCIS” (4.2/11 in 18-49, 15.8 million viewers overall) held up very well opposite “Dancing,” matching the previous week’s season-high result. “The Unit” fell off at 9 (3.4/8 in 18-49, 11.7 million viewers overall) but performed respectably against its own brutal competish, and medical drama “3 Lbs.” ran third in its premiere at 10 o’clock (2.8/8 in 18-49, 9.8 million viewers overall).

NBC’s “Friday Night Lights” was on the low side (2.3/6 in 18-49, 5.5 million viewers overall) before the net picked things up at 9 with “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (3.1/8 in 18-49, 9.1 million viewers overall). “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” then rose to the lead at 10 (5.3/15 in 18-49, 14.7 million viewers overall), matching its best delivery since April.

It was again feast and famine for Fox, with “Standoff” struggling at 8 (2.0/5 in 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall) and “House” strong at 9 (6.2/15 in 18-49, 14.6 million viewers overall). Latter was the clear choice at 9:30, following the conclusion of ABC’s “Dancing.”

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 5.7/15; Fox, 4.1/11; NBC, 3.6/9; CBS, 3.5/9; CW, 1.6/4; Univision, 1.4/4.

In total viewers: ABC, 19.6 million; CBS, 12.4 million; NBC, 9.8 million; Fox, 9.6 million; CW, 3.6 million; Univision, 3.4 million.

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