NBC comedy tops 'Grey's;' 'Idol' a winner for Fox

Paula Abdul’s CBS show, “Live to Dance,” opened to respectable numbers with its special preview Tuesday, but it doesn’t appear to be anything for competing nets to sweat about.

Also of note on a busy first Tuesday of the year, NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” returned with pretty good scores for its couples edition, ABC’s “V” held up perhaps better than expected with its first original in nearly eight months, but the net’s “Detroit 1-8-7″ and Fox’s limited-run gameshow “Million Dollar Money Drop” once again struggled.

The Eye’s attempt to cash in on primetime’s hoofing craze, “Dance” averaged a 2.4 rating/6 share in adults 18-49 and 10.22 million viewers overall, holding fairly steady throughout its 8-10 p.m. block, according to Nielsen estimates that include same-night DVR playback.

This number is about what CBS might have expected from repeats of its regular “NCIS” combo, and left the net second among the broadcasters in 18-49 and 25-54 (3.2/8). It did lead the Big Four in total viewers during the time period.

Though Abdul certainly added some marquee value to the project, “Live to Dance” has been considered a relatively low-risk roll of the dice for the Eye, which is using the show to bridge its seasons of “Survivor.” It is scheduled to air from 8 to 9 p.m. for six Wednesdays, beginning last night, and will go head-to-head with Fox’s “American Idol” — on which Abdul served as an original host — on four of those weeks.

Directly opposite “Live to Dance,” NBC’s 11th-season opener of “The Biggest Loser” averaged a 3.3/9 in 18-49 and 8.79 million viewers overall. The weight-loss show, which airs more firstrun weeks in a season than any broadcast entertainment series, may be tiring: It was down vs. its especially hefty bow of January 2010 (4.6/12 in 18-49, 11.74m) but up vs. last fall’s opener (2.9/8, 7.22m), which went up against season preems on other nets.

Excluding finales, Tuesday’s premiere of “The Biggest Loser: Couples” logged its best 18-49 score since May and its largest overall audience since last February.

Opposite competition series on both CBS and NBC, Fox’s “Million Dollar Money Drop” pulled a mere 1.3/3 in 18-49 and 3.82 million viewers overall, airing behind a repeat “Glee” (1.7/5, 4.74m). The gameshow, which bowed as a limited-run series a couple of weeks ago, is filling in for comedy “Raising Hope,” which is set to return along with new laffer “Traffic Light,” on Feb. 8.

At ABC, “No Ordinary Family” settled for a third-place demo finish among the broadcasters at 8 (1.9/5 in 18-49, 6.75m), but was up over the net’s comedy delivery in the hour a year ago; it will face tougher competition in the weeks ahead, though, as “NCIS” and “Glee” return.

And at 9, “V” (2.1/5 in 18-49, 6.59m) also placed third among the broadcasters in 18-49 but was television’s No. 1 series of the night in men 18-49 (2.3/6) and 25-54 (3.0/7). While still not great numbers, the sci-fi drama was able to match its first-season finale 18-49 delivery of last May, which benefited from a strong “Lost” lead-in, and should pick up plenty of viewers in DVR playback.

Leading out of “V,” rookie cop drama “Detroit 1-8-7″ hit a firstrun low in its return (1.2/3 in 18-49, 5.20m). It was soundly beaten by both NBC’s firstrun “Parenthood” (2.3/6 in 18-49, 5.98m), which had its best showing since September, and a special repeat of “NCIS” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 10.34m).

Also in the hour, TNT’s “Southland” drew a small 0.7/2 in 18-49 and 2.11 million viewers overall.

ESPN won the night with its coverage of college football’s Sugar Bowl pitting Ohio State against Arkansas (5.0/15 in 18-49, 13.64m).

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