'Fringe,' 'Mentalist' ahead in ratings race

Fox and CBS again saw good results for their new Tuesday dramas “Fringe” and “The Mentalist,” respectably, taking advantage of their potent lead-ins. It was a sluggish start, meanwhile, for ABC’s sophomore drama “Eli Stone.”

According to preliminary live plus same-day Nielsen estimates, Fox’s “House” (5.1 rating/14 share in adults 18-49, 12.8 million viewers overall) was the night’s top-rated program among young adults, though it remains well off its year-ago pace when it aired an hour later. And coming out of “House,” freshman drama “Fringe” (4.1/10 in 18-49, 9.5 million viewers overall) again retained a healthy percentage of its lead-in to rank second for the night in 18-49.

At CBS, the highest-rated demo performance in nearly a year for “NCIS” kicked off the night (3.8/11 in 18-49, 17.9 million viewers overall), with the military crime drama standing as Tuesday’s most-watched program overall. It helped provide a strong lead-in for “The Mentalist” (3.4/8 in 18-49, 14.9 million viewers overall), the first-year drama that ran second in 18-49 and first for its hour in 25-54 and total viewers for a second straight airing. The Eye then fell off at 10 with “Without a Trace” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 11.0 million viewers overall).

ABC opened meekly with “Opportunity Knocks” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 5.3 million viewers overall) and then moved up at 9 o’clock with the “Dancing With the Stars” results show (3.2/8 in 18-49, 14.4 million viewers overall), although it delivered perhaps its lowest score to date. And at 10, the second-season premiere of “Eli Stone” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 8.8 million viewers overall) ran third among the broadcast nets.

NBC was solid with a two-hour “Biggest Loser” (3.0/8 in 18-49, 7.5 million viewers overall) and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (3.7/10 in 18-49, 9.4 million viewers overall), with the latter winning at 10 o’clock in key demos despite year-to-year declines.

CW aired repeats of “90210” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 1.8 million viewers overall) and “Privileged” (0.6/1 in 18-49, 1.2 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 4.6/12; NBC, 3.3/9; CBS, 3.2/9; ABC, 2.2/6; Univision, 1.6/4; CW, 0.7/2.

In total viewers: CBS, 14.6 million; Fox, 11.2 million; ABC, 9.5 million; NBC, 8.1 million; Univision, 4.2 million; CW, 1.5 million.

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