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‘Jay Leno’ on top despite drop

'Brother' finale solid, 'Melrose' falls

Boosted by a hefty lead-in from the season opener of “The Biggest Loser,” NBC’s “The Jay Leno Show” held up OK in its second outing, sliding as expected from its big preem but still prevailing in its timeslot.

The night also saw a solid finale for “Big Brother 11” on CBS and declines for CW’s “Melrose Place,” which was coming off its modest bow of the previous week.

According to national estimates from Nielsen that include same-night DVR playback, the two-hour premiere of “The Biggest Loser” (3.8 rating/11 share in adults 18-49, 9.90 million viewers overall) came in 19% ahead of its opening 18-49 score of last fall and stood as the night’s No. 1 program in the demo.

This is the best fall start for “Loser” since the show’s inaugural season in October 2004.

It was followed by night two of “The Jay Leno Show” (3.4/9, 11.09m), which was off by 36% in 18-49 from its potent premiere. “Leno” won the 10 o’clock hour in demos, although it saw a somewhat troubling demo dropoff in its second half-hour (going from a 3.8/10 at 10 p.m. to a 3.0/8 at 10:30).

Despite the decline from the show’s bow, Leno’s Tuesday averages were still more than double what he pulled during the 2008-09 season on “The Tonight Show” (1.4 rating in 18-49, 5.1 million viewers overall) And “Leno” topped NBC’s prior 52-week Monday-through-Friday nonsports average in the 10 p.m. hour by 55% in 18-49 (3.4 vs. 2.2) and by 61% in total viewers (11.1 million vs. 6.9 million).

Tuesday is perhaps the night where Leno can be most competitive this fall, as there is no returning drama on either ABC or CBS and “Loser” should win its 9:30 half-hour in 18-49 most weeks.

At CW, “90210” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 2.31m) was in line with its week-earlier season premiere, but the second episode of “Melrose Place” (1.0/3, 1.81m) fell off more than 20% in most categories from its series launch. The shows continue to mesh well, though, in adults 18-34, with “Melrose” retaining 87% of its “90210” lead-in (1.3 vs. 1.5) vs. 94% last week.

 CBS ran second to NBC both at 8 o’clock with a repeat of “NCIS” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 12.44m) and from 9 to 11 p.m. with the finale of “Big Brother 11” (2.8/8, 7.88m), which caught NBC’s “Leno Show” for the 18-49 lead during the 10:30 half-hour.

“Brother” matched or neared season highs across the board and came in above the 10th season’s finale of last summer by about 5% in most broad measures and by 14% in adults 18-34.

At ABC, the wrap of “Shaq Vs.” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 4.43 million) drew the show’s largest overall viewership since its premiere. And Fox’s two-hour finale of dating show “More to Love” (1.7/5, 4.20m) failed to see any bump, coming in at about its season average.

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