No big boosts after Super Bowl push

NBC drew a record audience for its coverage of Sunday’s Super Bowl but got off to only a so-so start Monday with its returning dramas, which received a hefty promotional push during the game.

“Chuck” and “Heroes” were both above their recent ratings levels in their first original episodes in two months but placed third and fourth in various categories. And “Medium” didn’t loom very large in its season preem, placing third in young adults at 10 o’clock.

Perhaps NBC’s best shot at reaping benefits from the Super Bowl lies in “The Office,” a laffer that’s a top 10 draw among young adults but is not very popular among the 40-plus crowd. Sunday’s episode allowed millions of viewers to sample the show, and it stands a better chance of challenging for the lead in its brutal Thursday timeslot opposite “Grey’s Anatomy” and “CSI.”

Looking at Monday’s numbers, NBC’s 3-D episode of “Chuck” kicked things off with season highs (3.0 rating/7 share in adults 18-49, 8.45 million viewers overall), although these numbers left it in fourth place in one of the week’s toughest hours.

It was followed by “Heroes” (4.0/9 in 18-49, 8.55m), which placed third at 9 p.m. although it outperformed its most recent episodes and did defeat its drama competish, Fox’s “24,” in key demos.

And closing out the night, the season premiere of “Medium” (2.9/7, 8.56m) ranked second or third in various categories. It was the net’s highest-rated series in the hour since the bow of “My Own Worst Enemy” in October.

Overall, fourth-place NBC racked up its strongest Monday since a night of special programming on Nov. 3.

Fox prevailed in young adults with “House” (5.5/12, 16.55m), which dominated the 8 o’clock hour and stood as the night’s No. 1 program in key demos. It was followed by “24” (3.7/8, 11.34m), which took a hit opposite “Heroes.”

CBS received more solid perfs from comedies “The Big Bang Theory” (4.1/10 in 18-49, 10.84m), “How I Met Your Mother” (4.3/10, 10.30m) and “Two and a Half Men” (5.5/12, 16.55m) as well as 10 o’clock drama “CSI: Miami” (4.4/11, 16.10m), which posted best-since-September scores thanks to a guest appearance by former cast regular Khandi Alexander.

ABC’s “The Bachelor” remains the night’s hottest show (4.1/10 in 18-49, 11.0 million viewers overall), hitting another season high and winning its two-hour block in 18-34 for the first time this season (4.1/10). It peaked with a first-place 4.6/10 in 18-49 at 9:30 p.m., leading into reality series “True Beauty” (3.0/8 in 18-49, 6.77m), which continues to perform pretty well.

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For the week of Jan. 26-Feb. 1, NBC cruised with its best 18-49 average (excluding Olympics weeks) since May 1998.

Nielsen estimates that NBC averaged a 7.8 rating/20 share in adults 18-49, followed by Fox (4.2/10), CBS (2.2/6), ABC (2.1/5), Univision (1.7/4) and USA (1.1/3). MyNetwork and CW tied for eighth place (0.6/1), with the former edging ahead in total viewers (1.64 million to 1.48 million).

The Peacock also ruled in adults 25-54 (8.3/19) and total viewers (21.6 million), beating second-place Fox by about 10 million viewers.

Prior to the Super Bowl, NBC was paced by Tuesday’s two-hour “The Biggest Loser” (4.1/10, 11.08m), which drew its largest aud (excluding premieres and finales) in more than four years. It was up 24% in 18-49 vs. the same night a year ago, when it also faced an hour of “American Idol.”

Runner-up Fox benefited from three hours of “Idol,” led by Wednesday’s outing (10.2/26 in 18-49, 27.36m). Thursday’s special seg (9.3/25, 24.61m) was also huge, providing a nice lead-in for the season preem of “Hell’s Kitchen” (4.8/12, 10.86m).

Behind “Idol,” dramas “Fringe” (4.7/11, 11.62m) and “Lie to Me” (4.4/10, 12.21m) looked pretty good on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, both finishing second in their slots.

CBS was paced by the second post-William Petersen episode of “CSI” (5.4/13 in 18-49, 20.15m), which looked a bit stronger opposite repeats of its primary competish. “NCIS” was another standout (4.0/10, 19.20m), placing second to “American Idol” in its Tuesday slot with its second-largest overall audience to date.

The Eye also saw good numbers on Saturday for “Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials” (2.0/7 in 18-49, 7.90m), improving on the net’s perf in the 8 p.m. hour a week ago by 54% in 18-49.

“Lost” was ABC’s top show (4.9/12, 11.23m), retaining most of its premiere-week aud, but lead-out “Life on Mars” struggled in its first shot behind the hit (2.1/6, 6.22m).

Thursday saw “Private Practice” (2.8/8, 7.74m) show some strength, placing a close second in its 10 p.m. hour despite a weak lead-in from a repeat “Grey’s Anatomy” (1.7/4, 5.59m). And on Sunday, “Wipeout” earned the top 18-49 rating opposite Super Bowl coverage (2.4/5, 6.03m).

CW, with its Monday and Tuesday dramas in repeats, was led by its Thursday tandem of “Smallville” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 4.21m) and “Supernatural” (1.6/4, 3.56m).

Of note in cable, USA remained on top thanks in large part to Thursday’s hot “Burn Notice” (2.0/5 in 18-49, 5.38m) as well as Friday dramas “Monk” (1.4/4, 5.39m) and “Psych” (1.3/4, 4.32m).

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