‘Secret Life’ plays strong in return

ABC Family show is No. 1 scripted premiere on cable

Young femmes continue to be fascinated by ABC Family’s “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” which set series and network highs in its return Monday night.

“Secret Life” thrived even though sister broadcast net ABC bowed its latest edition of femme-fave “The Bachelor” to some of its best preem numbers in a while. Meanwhile, NBC’s “Heroes” appears to be on its last legs, with Monday’s two-hour return performing meekly.

Looking at the Nielsens, “Secret Life” (1.6 rating/5 share in adults 18-49, 4.55 million viewers overall) established series highs in persons 12-34 (3.0 million viewers), female teens (1.4 million) and several other demos. In total viewers, it came in just below its second-season bow last summer (4.7 million).

Though the show’s target aud is femmes 12-34, it performed broadly enough to stand as cable’s No. 1 scripted premiere in 18-49 this season, besting shows such as TNT’s “Men of a Certain Age” and FX’s “Nip/Tuck.”

It will have tougher competition for young females in coming weeks with the return of “House,” “One Tree Hill” and firstrun CBS comedies, but “Secret Life” has shown that it can hold up well against the broadcast blitz.

Also for ABC Family, “Make it Or Break It” followed at 9 p.m. Monday with series highs in total viewers (2.66 million) and all key demos.

At ABC, “The Bachelor” kicked off with pretty good numbers (3.3/8 in 18-49, 9.54m), including its highest 18-49 preem score since September 2007 and its second most-watched opener overall in its last nine editions. Show is again serving as a Monday bridge between the fall and spring editions of “Dancing With the Stars.”

The Alphabet also did pretty well Monday at 10 p.m. with the dating spec “Conveyor Belt of Love” (2.6/7, 6.34m), which was the No. 1 entertainment program in its timeslot in 18-49.

NBC’s “Heroes” struggled with its first original episode since late November (2.2/5 in 18-49, 4.92m), below its fall average and on par with the show’s lowest same-night average to date.

Sci-fi skein does pick up a lot of viewers in DVR playback, but its winter preem — on a night without firstrun competition from CBS or Fox — should have fared better. Next week it shifts to its new 9 p.m. slot, where it will follow “Chuck.”

Fox’s Fiesta Bowl matchup of Boise State and TCU averaged a 4.6/12 in 18-49 and 13.82 million viewers overall, winning the night in most categories.

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