Election night preemptions affect all nets

A special 90-minute “Dancing With the Stars Results” show topped the primetime offerings on Tuesday, a night whose preliminary results are more subject to revision to usual due to local preemptions and break-ins for election coverage. Top shows “NCIS” on CBS and “Glee” on Fox aired repeats.

According to preliminary, affiliate-based nationals from Nielsen, “Dancing With the Stars” averaged a 3.1 rating/8 share in adults 18-49 and 16.8 million viewers overall from 8 to 9:30 p.m., easily beating the competition. And thanks to that lead-in from 9:30 to 11 p.m., ABC drew the night’s largest election coverage audience with its “Vote 2010” special (1.7/5 in 18-49, 7.4 million viewers overall).

CBS did well enough with repeats of crime dramas “NCIS” (2.3/6 in 18-49, 11.5 million viewers overall) and “NCIS: Los Angeles” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 11.1 million viewers overall) but remained a laggard among the Big Three with its news coverage as “Campaign ’10: Election Night” settled for a 1.3/4 in 18-49 and 6.0 million viewers overall.

At NBC, a shortened version of “The Biggest Loser” ran second at 8 p.m. (2.5/7 in 18-49, 6.9 million viewers overall), followed by the two-hour news special “2010 Election Night” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 6.3 million viewers overall); based on these preliminaries, NBC’s election coverage topped ABC’s as the night’s leader among both 18-49 and 25-54.

Fox aired a repeat of “Glee” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 5.1 million viewers overall) followed by its special “America’s Election Headquarters” (0.9/2 in 18-49, 3.0 million viewers overall).

At CW, “One Tree Hill” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.1 million viewers overall) and “Life Unexpected” (0.9/2 in 18-49, 1.8 million viewers overall) were up slightly opposite the election coverage, but these numbers might also be inflated by political coverage in some markets.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 2.4/7; NBC, 2.1/6; CBS, 2.0/5; Fox and Univision, 1.4/4; CW, 0.9/3.

In total viewers: ABC, 12.1 million; CBS, 9.5 million; NBC, 6.5 million; Fox, 4.0 million; Univision, 3.4 million; CW, 1.9 million.

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