‘Shrek’ a monster hit for ABC

CBS wins rest of night with crime dramas

ABC looks to have found another holiday chestnut to stuff in its stocking after a Christmas-themed “Shrek” spec scored socko ratings Wednesday night.

The premiere of “Shrek the Halls,” from DreamWorks Animation and featuring the voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas, beat the combined demo scores of the other major nets in Wednesday’s opening half-hour.

It teamed with animated classic “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Classic” to produce the best young-adult ratings for any entertainment program in the 8 o’clock hour — on any night, on any net — since last May’s season-ender of “American Idol” on Fox.

According to Nielsen nationals that include same-day DVR playback, “Shrek the Halls” notched a 7.1 rating/19 share in adults 18-49 and 20.83 million viewers overall. Taking advantage of that lead-in, “Grinch” (6.8/17, 18.53m) jumped sharply over its ABC premiere of the previous year.

Obviously, there was a lot of family viewing going on, as ABC generated dominant victories in adult demos and crushed the competish among kids. “Shrek” and “Grinch” tied for the best numbers among kids 2-11 for any entertainment programming on any net (11.6/33) since the finale of the original “Survivor” on CBS in August 2000.

These specs, which the Alphabet will rebroadcast on Dec. 11, join other faves on the ABC roster, including “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too.” Newbie “Elmo’s Christmas Countdown” debuts Dec. 23.

ABC used Wednesday’s holiday specs to lead into “Pushing Daisies” at a special time of 9 o’clock. Though it attracted new viewers under 35 and logged best-since-premiere scores overall (3.7/9, 9.99m), it couldn’t match what “Private Practice” has averaged in the slot this fall.

And that opening helped other shows in the time period: CBS drama “Criminal Minds” won the hour (4.5/11 in 18-49, 16.23m) with its best scores since the conclusion of its post-Super Bowl seg last February; Fox’s nonscripted frosh “Kitchen Nightmares” achieved highs (3.3/8, 7.03m); and CW’s first-year series “Gossip Girl” (1.4/3, 2.93m) logged its second best scores to date.

NBC’s “Bionic Woman” couldn’t take advantage (2.2/5, 5.93m), finishing deep in fourth place.

CBS won at 10 o’clock with vet “CSI: NY” (4.1/11, 14.19m) opposite rookies “Dirty Sexy Money” on ABC (2.6/7, 7.04m) and “Life” on NBC (2.2/6, 6.28m).

ABC’s victory on the night capped the November sweep, in which the Alphabet won for a third straight year in adults 18-49 (Daily Variety, Nov. 29). In the most current final November sweep averages — to be finalized in a couple of weeks when all same-week DVR playback is included — the Alphabet averaged a 3.7 rating/10 share, followed by CBS (3.4/9), NBC (3.2/9), Fox (3.1/8), Univision (1.7/4), CW (1.1/3) and MyNetwork (0.4/1).

In overall total viewers, CBS prevailed with 12.01 million, followed by ABC (11.53m), NBC (8.51m), Fox (7.88m), Univision (3.84m), CW (2.74m) and MyNetwork (1.05m). Fox, Univision and MyNet were all up year to year.

ABC and CBS tied for the lead among adults 25-54 (4.3/11), while Fox triumphed in adults 18-34 (3.1/9).

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