'Prison Break,' 'K-Ville' win in the ratings

Fox’s Monday drama lineup kicked off with solid numbers but now must brace for much tougher competition in coming weeks.

One week prior to the start of the television season, returning skein “Prison Break” opened lower than last year, and New Orleans cop show “K-Ville” preemed to slightly better numbers and was the top-rated broadcast show of the night in young adults.

While Fox is likely happy with the results, it may be hard-pressed to avoid going from first to fourth on the night next week when big guns on rival nets — “Heroes,” “Dancing With the Stars” and “Two and a Half Men” — open their seasons.

Nielsen processing issues prevented the release of national ratings on Tuesday, but preliminary estimates show that “K-Ville” averaged a 3.4 rating/8 share in adults 18-49 and 9 million viewers overall in the 9 o’clock hour. It topped broadcast competish that included a special firstrun episode of NBC’s “The Singing Bee” (prelim 2.8/7, 7.8 million) as well as repeats on CBS and ABC.

“K-Ville” performed about 13% better in 18-49 than last season’s debut of “Vanished” did in the time period for Fox (3.0/8). And in a good sign, show held pretty steady in its second half-hour, retaining 95% or more of its audience in various demos, according to the Nielsen prelims.

In audience composition, “K-Ville” wasn’t the ideal fit with its lead-in “Prison Break,” which skewed younger and more male. While “K-Ville” lost 26% of its lead-in’s men 18-34 aud (2.3 rating vs. 3.1), it built by 33% on “Prison” in women 25-54 (4.0 vs. 3.0).

Show fared well in New Orleans, attracting 29% of the households watching television in the Crescent City, compared with 11% in New York, 8% in L.A. and 9% in Chicago.

As for “Prison Break,” its third-season preem averaged a 3.2/9 in 18-49 and 7.4 million viewers overall, down from last year’s bow in August (3.7/12, 9.37m). It won its hour in young adults, edging out NBC’s special firstrun “Deal or No Deal” (3.1/9, 11.7 million).

ESPN’s pro football matchup between the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles was expected to stand as Monday’s top program, although the nationals were delayed.

(Each adults 18-49 ratings point for the new season reps 1.3105 million viewers.)

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