Medical drama returns to big numbers

Fox juggernaut “House” returned after a one-week break for baseball with big numbers Tuesday, easily standing as the night’s top demo performer. Vets “NCIS” on CBS and “Law & Order: SVU” on NBC won the other two hours.

According to preliminary Nielsen nationals, “House” averaged a 7.6 rating/18 share in adults 18-49 and 17.9 million viewers overall, up from the 7.4/18 it logged with its most recent episode. The medical mystery series set a new record in adults 18-34 (7.6/20) for an episode that didn’t air behind “American Idol.” Fox opened the night with a second-place finish for “Bones” (3.1/9 in 18-49, 8.8 million viewers overall).

At NBC, following “Singing Bee” at 8 (2.3/7 in 18-49, 6.8 million viewers overall), “Biggest Loser” improved to a 3.2/9 in 18-49 and 10.9 million viewers overall from 8:30 to 10. The net then surged to the lead at 10 o’clock as usual with “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (4.7/13 in 18-49, 12.2 million viewers overall).

ABC’s opening-hour comedies “Cavemen” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 6.5 million viewers overall) and “Carpoolers” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 7.1 million viewers overall) fell to fourth place with their lowest demo scores in four tries, but the net bounced back nicely at 9 with the “Dancing With the Stars” results show (4.4/11 in 18-49, 17.8 million viewers overall). “Dancing” was a solid No. 2 for the hour in demos and was neck and neck with “House” for the lead among total viewers. At 10, a special “20/20″ news report on the California wildfires averaged a 2.8/8 in 18-49 and 10.9 million viewers overall.

CBS controlled Tuesday’s opening hour in key demos for a fourth straight week with “NCIS” (3.7/10 in 18-49, 17.1 million viewers overall), which led its closest pursuer by 1 share in 18-49 and by 5 shares in 25-54. “The Unit” followed with respectable numbers at 9 (3.0/7 in 18-49, 10.9 million viewers overall), but “Cane” continues to trend downward at 10 (2.0/5 in 18-49, 8.0 million viewers overall).

CW was down week to week with both “Beauty and the Geek” (1.6/4 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall) and “Reaper” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 2.6 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 5.4/14; NBC, 3.5/9; ABC, 3.2/8; CBS, 2.9/8; Univision, 1.5/4; CW, 1.4/4.

In total viewers: Fox, 13.3 million; CBS, 12.0 million; ABC, 11.9 million; NBC, 8.8 million; Univision, 3.4 million; CW, 2.9 million.

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