CBS wins night with specs 'Rudolph,' 'Victoria'

Fox’s “Glee” rebounded from its season low of last week to lead Tuesday among young adults, but CBS earned a narrow demo victory on the evening thanks to its specials “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.”

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, “Glee” opened the night a winner for Fox with a 4.5 rating/12 share in adults 18-49 and 11.6 million viewers overall — up an expected 15% in the demo when nationals are released this afternoon, and hitting a series high in teens 12-17 (4.9/16). The musical comedy had slumped last week, though its declines likely were due to holiday-week distractions.

The other major networks all had the same idea for Tuesday’s opening hour: Christmas specials. CBS’ “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” shined brightest (3.8/11 in 18-49, 12.0 million viewers overall), on par with last year’s demo score and winning its hour among kids 2-11 (5.8/17). At NBC, “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 11.3 million viewers overall) was up slightly vs. last year in 18-49 but mushroomed by 30% in total viewers to its biggest overall crowd in seven years.

ABC was most affected by the double-barrel holiday competition, as its half-hours “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 6.9 million viewers overall) and “Shrek the Halls” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 7.4 million viewers overall) were both down sharply year to year. And from 9 to 11, “No Ordinary Family” was up a tick in its new timeslot (1.9/5 in 18-49, 6.2 million viewers overall), but “Detroit 1-8-7,” despite no drama competition on ABC or CBS this week, was down a tick at 10 p.m. (1.6/4 in 18-49, 7.3 million viewers overall).

Elsewhere on the night, NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” (2.9/8 in 18-49, 8.3 million viewers overall) — nearing its finale — started an hour later than usual and shot up 39% to its best demo score since its season premiere and its largest overall audience since last season.

Following “Rudolph,” CBS closed the night with a special 9 p.m. repeat of “NCIS” (3.0/8 in 18-49, 15.1 million viewers overall) and its annual “Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show” (3.4/9 in 18-49, 9.0 million viewers overall), which had its best demo showing in two years and its largest overall audience since 2003.

And at Fox, “Glee” was followed by “Raising Hope” (2.7/7 in 18-49, 6.9 million viewers overall) and “Running Wilde” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 3.4 million viewers overall), both up vs. their most recent original airings.

CW aired original episodes of “One Tree Hill” (0.9/2 in 18-49, 1.8 million viewers overall) and “Life Unexpected” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 1.5 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 3.4/9; Fox, 3.3/9; NBC, 2.6/7; ABC, 1.9/5; Univision, 1.6/4; CW, 0.8/2.

In total viewers: CBS, 12.0 million; NBC, 9.3 million; Fox, 8.4 million; ABC, 6.9 million; Univision, 4.0 million; CW, 1.7 million.

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