Net wins week with four games of Fall Classic

A competitive World Series has been a ratings boon for Fox, which notched an across-the-board primetime ratings victory last week.

Four games of the Fall Classic between the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals and a special Tuesday edition of “The X Factor” combined to pace Fox’s winning week for the Oct. 17-23 frame, and the net is now up more than 20% season to date.

Also of note in the fifth week of the television season, CBS remained hot with its hit comedies and top crime dramas, while ABC saw its Sunday skein “Once Upon a Time” open very well and Tuesday comedy anchor “Last Man Standing” hold up nicely in its second week.NBC, meanwhile, was exposed in a week when “Sunday Night Football” hit a season low and “The Office” aired a repeat: It had no entertainment series among the frame’s top 25 shows in adults 18-49, and the fourth-place network finds itself down more than 10% season to date in all categories.

According to Nielsen, Fox cruised in adults 18-49 with a 3.6 rating/10 share, followed by CBS (2.6/7), ABC (2.4/6), NBC (1.8/5) and Univision (1.4/4). Fox also led in adults 25-54 (4.3/11) and total viewers (11.9 million).

For Fox, the World Series will see a sixth game tonight and could extend to a seventh game for the first time in nine years if the Cardinals win to tie the series.

Sunday’s Game 4 averaged a 4.2 rating/11 share in adults 18-49 and 15.16 million viewers overall — enough to top NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” (5.2/13, 12.47m) in total viewers but not the demo. Game 5 on Monday of the current week (4.2/11, 14.32m) held steady, handily beating ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” (3.3/9, 7.47m for Ravens-Jaguars).

On the entertainment side, Fox’s top shows were “X Factor” (3.9/10, 10.39m), which won its night, and Monday’s “House” (3.1/7, 8.34m).

At ABC, “Once Upon a Time” impressed in its Sunday bow (4.0/10, 12.93m), racking up the best premiere 18-49 score for any drama since the net’s “V” two years ago and giving ABC its best showing in the night’s 8 o’clock hour in three years.

On Tuesday, Tim Allen comedy “Last Man Standing” (3.1/9, 10.34m) retained most of its preem aud from last week, but it was just a so-so bow for the premiere of “Man Up” airing behind it at 8:30 (2.4/6, 7.78m).Net’s Wednesday continues to look good, with “The Middle” rising again (3.0/9, 9.13m), “Suburgatory” holding up well at 8:30 (3.1/8, 8.82m) and “Modern Family” (5.7/14, 13.04m) ascending to No. 1 in the weekly 18-49 rankings for the first time.

CBS was again paced by “Two and a Half Men” (5.3/13, 15.14m), and on Monday of this week, the vet comedy saw its first ratings uptick in the Ashton Kutcher era (5.5/13, 15.29m) — it was the night’s No. 1 show in the demo and up a hefty 25% over the 4.4 it did a year ago in the same week.

Eye’s other top comedy, “The Big Bang Theory,” exploded to its largest Thursday aud to date for a regular seg (5.1/16, 14.93m). This helped lead-out “Rules of Engagement” to a solid sixth-season premiere (3.6/10, 11.45m), which was up over its opener of September 2010, the only other time since 2007 that it started its season in the fall.

Also stout in their ninth and seventh seasons, respectively, were dramas “NCIS” (3.9/11, 19.41m) and “Criminal Minds” (3.9/10, 13.15m).

It was a forgettable week for NBC, which was led on the series side by Wednesday’s “Law and Order: SVU” (2.2/6, 7.66m) and “Up All Night” (2.1/6, 5.63m).

In cable, MTV’s “Jersey Shore” (3.7/9 in 18-49, 6.64m) wrapped down from its most recent season finale but ranked 16th among all shows for the week. Right behind it in the demo rankings was AMC’s strong “The Walking Dead” (3.6/8, 6.70m), which dipped just a bit from its season premiere.

Other top performers included a pair of FX dramas, “Sons of Anarchy” (2.0/5, 3.65m) and “American Horror Story” (1.5/3, 2.59m), and, of course, ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” (5.0/13 in 18-49, 12.06m for Dolphins-Jets).

Nickelodeon scored a big 5.73 million viewers Saturday for its premiere of movie “Fred 2: Night of the Living Fred”; ABC Family’s “13 Nights of Halloween” got off to its best start to date, averaging 1.7 million viewers through five days; and CNN drew 5.50 million viewers for Tuesday’s GOP debate, making it the second most popular debate of this election cycle.

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