'Grease' gets audience network wants

NBC’s “Grease” reality skein opened to fairly slick numbers Sunday as the net looks to build a lineup on the night following the end of its football season.

Peacock’s new cycle of “The Apprentice” also performed pretty well, debuting above its most recent edition and moving into the demo lead in its final half-hour.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, “Grease: You’re the One That I Want,” averaged a 4.3 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and 11.6 million viewers overall. It didn’t see much growth throughout, but it did maintain its demo share each half-hour.

Although it ran third opposite tough competish that included Fox’s football-fueled fare and ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and “Desperate Housewives,” “Grease” logged the best series performance for NBC in the time period in three years.

Competition skein, which seeks to find the leads for a new Broadway production of the musical to bow in July, won its time period in femmes 12-34 (5.0/12).

As for “The Apprentice,” a shift from Manhattan to Los Angeles seemed to stoke the interest of auds: Donald Trump-hosted skein averaged a 4.1/10 in 18-49 and 9.1 million viewers overall — up 5% from the “Apprentice 5″ bow in February and giving NBC its best series perf in the 9:30-11 p.m. timeslot in 14 months.

“Apprentice” peaked in the final half-hour with a slot-leading 4.4/11 in adults 18-49.

NBC has been winning some Sundays this season thanks to its strong “Sunday Night Football” NFL package, but it’s pretty much starting from scratch on the night for the rest of the season. Net’s new Sunday sked will include vet crime drama “Crossing Jordan,” which returns next week at 10, following the regular hourlong segs of “Grease” and “Apprentice.”

Elsewhere on the night, Fox crushed the competish in the opening hour, as a roughly 57-minute NFL overrun from the Philadelphia Eagles-New York Giants contest should come in with about a 12 demo rating.

Postgame coverage spilled over into the 8 o’clock half-hour, with the net’s animated comedies each starting 10 minutes late. “The Simpsons” was well above average as a result, likely coming in with nearly a 6 demo rating.

ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (prelim 5.1/11 in 18-49, 13.4 million) was below average but held up pretty well given the stronger NBC and Fox presence in the hour. Net also led in 18-49 with both “Desperate Housewives” (prelim 7.3/16 in 18-49, 18.6 million) and “Brothers & Sisters” (prelim 4.6/11, 12.1 million), although the former hit a season low.

It was another big playoff day for the NFL: The late Fox game between the Eagles and Giants (20.4 household rating/34 share in Nielsen’s metered-market overnights) was up in rating vs. the strong 19.9/34 last year for the comparable Pittsburgh-Cincinnati matchup on CBS.

And Sunday’s early game on CBS (New England Patriots-New York Jets) registered a stout 17.5/36 in the overnights, up from the 16.8/35 for last year’s Carolina-New York Giants matchup in the early window on Fox.

Playoff coverage continues this weekend with a pair of games on both Fox and CBS. The Eye will air the Super Bowl on Feb. 4.

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