'Lone Star' sinks in second week

ABC topped its broadcast rivals on the second Monday of the season thanks to “Dancing With the Stars” and a rising “Castle,” but CBS had reason to be pleased with good second-week holds for new shows “Mike and Molly” and “Hawaii Five-0.”

NBC’s “The Event,” meanwhile, dropped by a larger margin as it faces an uphill battle to draw same-night viewers in such a crowded timeslot. And Fox’s “Lone Star” dropped out of the race for good after a second weak showing.

ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” nailbiter between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers (7.2/18 in 18-49, 17.45 million viewers overall) towered above all broadcast programming on the night in key demos, with ABC second in 18-49 and first in total viewers.

Looking at the numbers, NBC’s “The Event” (2.9/7 in 18-49, 9.06 million) declined by 19% from its week-ago series premiere, building on its “Chuck” lead-in (2.0/5, 5.37m), placing third among the broadcasters in the 9 o’clock hour and providing NBC with nice timeslot gains year to year. The net held up better relative to premiere week at 10 p.m. with “Chase” (2.1/6, 6.33m), which held 91% of its debut demo delivery.

The drop for “The Event,” whose premiere got mostly favorable reviews from critics and was seemingly well received by viewers, underscores the challenge that a serialized show faces in such a tough timeslot. In “Monday Night Football,” “Dancing With the Stars” and “Two and a Half Men,” the NBC newcomer opposes three of TV’s most popular programs when it comes to live viewing.

And with more than 38% of TV households capable of timeshifting via digital video recorders, something like “The Event” figures to be the show set aside for another day. (Indeed, NBC notes that early tracking reveals “The Event” to be a sizable gainer in playback.)

Heavy DVR playback is a phenomenon that wasn’t nearly the same factor when NBC launched “Heroes” in the same time period in 2006 (when DVR penetration was still under 10%), and Nielsen hadn’t even begun tracking DVR playback when ABC bowed “Lost” in September 2004 in a wide-open timeslot.

It’s for these reasons that it was surprising to see NBC put its big-bet, serialized show in such an inhospitable timeslot. Lots of people may still be following the show, but it just won’t show up in the next day’s Nielsens.

Elsewhere on Monday, CBS looked good as “How I Met Your Mother” (3.9/11, 9.00m) and “Rules of Engagement” (3.2/8, 8.15m) were up from their season premieres. They led into “Two and a Half Men” (4.8/12, 13.92m), which was flat week to week, and rookie “Mike and Molly” (3.7/9, 11.12m), which retained 95% of its premiere score to rank second among the broadcasters at 9:30. And closing out the night, “Hawaii Five-0″ (3.6/10, 12.72m) led its broadcast competition, down just 8% from its premiere.

ABC was paced by “Dancing With the Stars” (4.8/12, 21.34m) and “Castle” (2.8/8, 11.08m) — with the former down a bit and the latter up, with both surging vs. the same night last year.

Fox saw “House” (3.8/10 in 18-49, 10.18m from 8 to 9:03 p.m.) remain second among the broadcasters in its hour, declining 10% from its season premiere of the previous week and off more than 30% vs. the same night a year ago. And “Lone Star” (1.0/3, 3.23m from 9:03 to 10 p.m.) was down more than 20% from its anemic premiere, and the net opted Tuesday to pull the plug on the show.

CW’s “90210” (1.0/3, 1.96m) was up slightly week to week, while “Gossip Girl” (1.0/2, 1.78m) was flat.

For the night, ABC, CBS and NBC were all up vs. the second Monday of last season, taking advantage of Fox’s declining fortunes on the night.

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