CBS strong as 'Men' stays above 20 million viewers

It had dinosaurs and Steven Spielberg’s name attached, but costly Fox drama “Terra Nova” settled for average numbers in its bow Monday. Star of the night was CBS’ “Two and a Half Men,” which topped 20 million viewers in Ashton Kutcher’s second week and seemed to lift the net’s entire comedy block.

Opposite a big “Monday Night Football” game on ESPN and potent CBS comedy numbers, “Terra Nova” averaged a 3.1 rating/8 share in adults 18-49 and 9.22 million viewers from 8 to 10 p.m. — holding steady at a 3.1 in each half-hour, according to Nielsen.

While nothing special, the “Terra Nova” opener was in line with last week’s top drama premieres in the demo (ABC’s “Revenge” and “Pan Am” and CBS’ “Person of Interest”). A year ago in Week 2, “House” did a 3.8 and rookie dud “Lone Star” managed a mere 1.0, so Fox’s 3.1 average for the night reps a 24% improvement year-to-year. “House” returns next week in its new regular 9 p.m. timeslot.CBS won the night in demos among the broadcasters, with “How I Met Your Mother” (4.5/12, 10.50m) holding up well from its premiere and “2 Broke Girls” looking good in its regular 8:30 p.m. debut (4.6/12, 11.75m), up a big 44% over last year’s “Rules of Engagement” in the timeslot.

From there, “Two and a Half Men” dominated at 9 (7.4/17 in 18-49, 20.53m) — down about 30% week to week but still 54% better than the second week of “Men” last season for CBS (4.8). And following “Mike and Molly” (4.8/11, 13.86m), which returned with series highs, “Hawaii Five-0″ led the drama demo battle at 10 p.m. (3.2/8, 11.26m).

ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” (3.3/8 in 18-49, 16.23m) dropped about 15% from its below-par premiere of last week and was down a big 30% from the same night a year ago, but it was still big enough among older viewers to lift the Alphabet to victory for the night in total viewers. Closing things out, 10 p.m. drama “Castle” (2.8/7, 11.67m) still managed to match its delivery of a year ago, placing second to “Hawaii Five-0″ in demos while edging out the CBS drama in total viewers.

NBC’s “The Playboy Club” (1.3/3, 3.97m) dropped a few more ticks from its soft bow, and the net’s “The Sing-Off” also dipped (1.7/4, 4.45m), with all three hours below last year’s Week 2 average.

CW’s new drama “Hart of Dixie” averaged a 0.8/2 in 18-49 and 1.88 million viewers overall, building on its “Gossip Girl” lead-in (0.7/2, 1.37m) in all broad categories — though it dropped off in adults 18-34 (0.8 vs. a 1.1 for “Gossip”).

Making life difficult for all the broadcasters was ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” which featured the Dallas Cowboys and thus was above average (7.2/17, 17.10m).

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