New Monday night lineup looks strong

Fox’s new Monday lineup of “House” and “24″ looked strong in the shows’ first outing together this week.

The duo helped the net prevail in key categories with its best regular-series performance on the night in about two years.

CBS was a solid second with its comedies and “CSI: Miami,” and ABC was on the rise as its current edition of “The Bachelor” is clicking with auds.

The night’s 8 o’clock hour has gotten noticeably stronger, highlighted by the debut of “House,” which had been airing on Tuesdays, and the record highs in recent weeks for CBS comedies “The Big Bang Theory” and “How I Met Your Mother.” And things will only get tougher in weeks ahead as NBC’s “Chuck” and ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” return.

Add in CW’s “Gossip Girl,” as well as ABC Family’s “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” and it’s arguably television’s strongest hour for entertainment programs.

On this Monday, Fox’s “House” (5.4 rating/13 share in 18-49, 14.9 million viewers overall) rolled to some of its best scores of the season, according to prelim Nielsens. And “24″ held steady in its second week at 9 o’clock (prelim 4.1/11 in 18-49, 12.0 million), placing a close second to CBS for the hour in 18-49 and moving to the lead in various demos at 9:30.

Together, Fox’s 18-49 average on Monday (4.8/11) was the best on the night with entertainment series for any network this season. And it was Fox’s best performance there with regular programming since January 2007 (“Prison Break” and “24″).

CBS ran second with “Big Bang Theory” (prelim 4.0/10, 11.1 million) and “How I Met Your Mother” (prelim 4.5/11, 10.8 million) and then ruled at 9 o’clock with “Two and a Half Men” (prelim 5.4/12 in 18-49, 16.0 million), the top program in 18-49 (tied with “House”), 25-54 and total viewers.

The net fell back as usual at 9:30 with “Worst Week” (prelim 3.0/7, 9.6 million) before regaining supremacy at 10 o’clock with “CSI: Miami” (prelim 3.7/10, 14.5 million).

ABC’s “The Bachelor” hit season highs (prelim 3.5/8 in 18-49, 9.9 million), rising each half-hour and tying with “24″ for the 18-49 lead at 9:30. At 10, “True Beauty” dipped a bit more (prelim 2.7/7 in 18-49, 5.9 million), again ranking second in its slot.

NBC, whose “Chuck” and “Heroes” return in a couple of weeks, remained weak with competition series “Superstars of Dance” (prelim 1.7/4 in 18-49, 6.4 million) and “Momma’s Boys” (prelim 1.8/5, 4.9 million).

At CW, “Gossip Girl” (prelim 1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.2 million) was affected by “House,” dipping to one of its weakest scores of the season. The net picked up some at 9 o’clock for “One Tree Hill” (prelim 1.2/3 in 18-49, 2.6 million).

* * *

Due to the Monday holiday, the weekly Nielsen ratings report and charts will run in Thursday’s edition.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more