CBS dramas also solid, including newcomer 'Unforgettable'

Fox, looking for its first live-action half-hour comedy hit in nearly a decade, may have found it, if opening-night interest is any indication.

The heavily promoted Zooey Deschanel laffer “New Girl” enchanted auds Tuesday, building on its “Glee” lead-in and rating as the night’s top program among young adults. It’s the second straight night to start the season in which comedy has been the big story, after CBS rebooted “Two and a Half Men” on Monday to a mammoth audience and got great sampling for the new “2 Broke Girls.”

CBS also had a good night Tuesday, with its “NCIS” drama duo both up vs. last year and newcomer “Unforgettable” fitting into the lineup nicely with a winning perf at 10.

ABC and NBC, meanwhile, saw their vet reality series “Dancing With the Stars” and “The Biggest Loser” take a tumble, with the hoofing skein hit especially hard. And in its second week, CW’s “Ringer” was down opposite the Big Four premieres but held up best in the net’s target demos.

Though down 5% year to year in 18-49, Fox won the night in the demo (4.0/11) while CBS was second (3.6/10), according to Nielsen. The Eye prevailed in 25-54 (5.0/12) and total viewers (16.9 million) and was up slightly across the board.

Looking at the numbers, “New Girl” averaged a 4.8 rating/12 share in adults 18-49 and 10.28 million viewers overall — winning in all under-50 categories and improving a big 55% over “Raising Hope” in the timeslot a year ago. Fox hasn’t done better with a fall comedy premiere since “Bernie Mac” in November 2001.

The performance was even more impressive considering that lead-in “Glee” (4.0/11 in 18-49, 9.21m) was down 29% from its big start of last year. Also for Fox, “Raising Hope” (3.1/8, 6.73m), now airing at 9:30 p.m., matched its series premiere score of last year (when it followed “Glee” at 9 p.m.) but lost a good chunk of its “New Girl” lead-in.

“Glee” was surpassed in adults 18-49 at 8 o’clock by CBS vet “NCIS” (4.3/12 in 18-49, 19.96m), the night’s No. 1 show in 25-54 (5.9/15) and total viewers. “NCIS” was up vs. its debut perf of last fall, as was lead-out “NCIS: Los Angeles” (3.6/9, 16.71m).

And at 10, new CBS crime drama “Unforgettable” (2.9/8, 14.09m) led its hour and was down just a tick in 18-49 from a second “NCIS: Los Angeles” on premiere Tuesday a year ago (and up a bit in total viewers). The Poppy Montgomery series also started stronger than “The Good Wife,” which bowed in the second week of last season to a 2.5.

ABC was paced by “Dancing With the Stars” (2.9/7 in 18-49m, 14.79m), though it was down 34% from last year; this year’s cast hasn’t proved as attractive to auds. NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” ran fourth from 8 to 10 p.m. (2.3/6, 6.17m), down 21% from last year.

In the 10 o’clock hour opposite “Unforgettable,” NBC’s “Parenthood” held up well (2.1/6 in 18-49, 5.28m), down just a tick from last week’s early premiere against softer competition but off by about 15% vs. its second episode of last year. And for ABC in the hour, Dana Delany crime drama “Body of Proof” (2.2/6, 9.41m) was down a tick from last year’s debut of “Detroit 1-8-7″ in the time period, though it retained more of its lead-in than “Detroit.”

CW’s “Ringer” (0.9/2 in 18-49, 1.95m) took a hit in its second week but held up best in the net’s core demos of adults 18-34 and women 18-34.

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