ESPN's football expected to dominate demos

The combo of “Dancing With the Stars” and “Castle” lifted ABC to the top spot among broadcasters on the final Monday of October, a night that ESPN was expected to rule in key demos thanks to its marquee “Monday Night Football” matchup between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.

According to preliminary nationals, “Dancing With the Stars” averaged a 4.2 rating/11 share in adults 18-49 and 20.2 million viewers overall from 8 to 10 p.m., rising week to week and standing as the No. 1 broadcaster in both hours. It was followed by third-year mystery drama “Castle” (3.0/8 in 18-49, 11.9 million viewers overall), which edged past CBS drama “Hawaii Five-0″ (2.8/7 in 18-49, 10.0 million viewers overall). “Castle” and “Hawaii” are expected to finish in a virtual demo draw when nationals are issued later today, as the former’s average includes two minutes of “Dancing With the Stars” overrun.

As for football, the Giants’ 41-35 victory over the rival Cowboys averaged a 12.3 household rating in Nielsen’s metered markets, including a 31.2 rating in Dallas (combination of ESPN and independent station KTXA) and a 16.4 rating in New York (ESPN and WWOR). This edges out the Oct. 11 matchup between the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings, which earned a 12.2 metered-market average on its way to drawing a 7.1 rating in adults 18-49 and 17.3 million viewers overall in the nationals.

Elsewhere, CBS held up well with its comedies “How I Met Your Mother” (3.2/9 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall), “Rules of Engagement” (2.9/8 in 18-49, 8.3 million viewers overall), “Two and a Half Men” (4.3/11 in 18-49, 13.7 million viewers overall) and “Mike and Molly” (3.6/9 in 18-49, 10.9 million viewers overall), all on par with the previous week. And at 10, “Hawaii Five-0″ was down a tick.

NBC’s “Chuck” held steady (1.9/5 in 18-49, 5.4 million viewers overall), but “The Event” (2.0/5 in 18-49, 5.9 million viewers overall) and “Chase” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 4.9 million viewers overall) drifted further downward in their sixth airings. “The Event,” though, has proven to be a highly recorded program, with its 31% build in 18-49 from its originally reported same-night average to its full-week DVR playback number the largest lift for any new series this fall.

Fox aired a repeat of “House” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 4.0 million viewers overall), followed by an original episode of “Lie to Me” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 4.3 million viewers overall), which clearly felt the loss of its usually potent lead-in.

At CW, “90210” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.0 million viewers overall) and “Gossip Girl” (1.0/2 in 18-49, 1.9 million viewers overall) were on the high side as the net enjoyed its most-watched Monday of the season.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 3.8/10; CBS, 3.3/9; Univision, 1.9/5; NBC, 1.7/4; Fox, 1.5/4; CW, 1.0/3.

In total viewers: ABC, 17.3 million; CBS, 10.2 million; NBC, 5.4 million; Univision, 4.3 million; Fox, 4.1 million; CW, 2.0 million.

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