'Big Bang' tops night while 'Stars' leads in viewers

ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” was Monday’s most-watched program overall, but it was CBS (led by the night’s top show, “The Big Bang Theory”) and Fox (with the season finale of “House”) that tied for demo supremacy.

“House” kicked off the night for Fox (4.2/12 in 18-49, 10.9 million viewers overall), winning in 18-49 and younger demos and growing 17% vs. the previous week, according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen; it was also the night’s top draw in adults 18-34 (4.0/12). And at 9, “24” was on the rise as well (3.0/8 in 18-49, 9.0 million viewers overall) one week from its series finale.

CBS was OK but nothing flashy in the night’s opening hour with “How I Met Your Mother” (3.1/9 in 18-49, 7.6 million viewers overall) and “Rules of Engagement” (2.9/8 in 18-49, 7.7 million viewers overall) before growing sharply at 9 p.m. with “Two and a Half Men” (4.4/11 in 18-49, 13.2 million viewers overall) and then at 9:30 with “The Big Bang Theory” (5.4/14 in 18-49, 14.7 million viewers overall) — the night’s top program in 18-49. “CSI: Miami” closed things out for CBS as the broadcast leader at 10 o’clock (3.0/8 in 18-49, 10.6 million viewers overall).

ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” (4.0/11 in 18-49, 18.8 million viewers overall) won its 90-minute block in most categories and was once again Monday’s most-watched program overall. Things dropped off sharply at 9:30 with “Romantically Challenged” (2.1/5 in 18-49, 8.7 million viewers overall) before picking up some at 10 with the season finale of “Castle” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 10.1 million viewers overall).

NBC opened with “Chuck” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 5.2 million viewers overall), which was in line with the previous week, followed by two hours of “Law & Order,” which averaged a 1.7/5 in 18-49 and 6.1 million viewers overall from 9 to 11. The show wraps its 20th and final season on NBC next week.

CW offered up season finales of “One Tree Hill” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.0 million viewers overall) and “Gossip Girl” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 2.0 million viewers overall), with the former on the lower side of its recent range, and the latter on the higher side.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 3.6/10; Fox, 3.6/10; ABC, 3.2/9; NBC, 1.8/5; Univision, 1.7/5; CW, 1.0/3.

In total viewers: ABC, 14.2 million; CBS, 10.7 million; Fox, 9.9 million; NBC, 5.8 million; Univision, 4.1 million; CW, 2.0 million.

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