NBC's 'Talent' opens well; 'Smash' wraps in third

NBC looked good with the debut of Howard Stern on ”America’s Got Talent,” but the finales of ”How I Met Your Mother,” ”Two and a Half Men,” ”Mike and Molly” and ”Hawaii Five-0” lifted CBS to the top of the ratings heap in key demos Monday.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, the hourlong finale of ”How I Met Your Mother” averaged a 3.6 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and 8.5 million viewers overall, winning the 8 o’clock hour among young adults and outperforming last year’s half-hour finale by 16% in 18-49. It was followed by the season finale of ”Two and a Half Men” (3.8/10 in 18-49, 11.3 million viewers overall), which was the night’s No. 1 show in 18-49 and 25-54 (4.9/11) but down from last year. The wedding episode of ”Mike and Molly” (3.3/8 in 18-49, 11.6 million viewers overall) was up nicely over last year’s finale, while ”Hawaii Five-0” (2.7/7 in 18-49, 11.3 million viewers overall) matched its year-ago finale demo delivery.

All CBS shows were also flat or up vs. their most recent episodes, and the net won the night in 18-49 and 25-54.

At NBC, summer series ”America’s Got Talent” kicked off a bit earlier than usual with a strong showing from 8 to 10 p.m. (3.6/10 in 18-49, 10.3 million viewers overall), winning the 9 o’clock hour in 18-49 and tying CBS for the two-hour block. Featuring the debut of Howard Stern as a judge, ”Talent” delivered the same demo score as it finished last summer with, and the 3.6 is also roughly what ”The Voice” had averaged in the Monday 8-10 p.m. timeslot in its final weeks. Capping the night, and holding steady week to week in demos, was the first-season finale of ”Smash” (third-place 1.8/5 in 18-49, 6.1 million viewers overall); in total viewers, the Broadway-themed drama hit a seven-week high.

ABC’s ”Dancing With the Stars” settled for a third-place demo finish with its 90-minute performance show (2.6/7 in 18-49, 15.6 million viewers overall), though it easily remained the night’s most-watched program overall. It was followed by the season premiere of ”The Bachelorette” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 8.3 million viewers overall), which placed second in demos for the 10 o’clock hour.

Fox remains a laggard on the night with ”Bones” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 7.1 million viewers overall) and ”House” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 6.4 million viewers overall), with the latter wrapping its eight-season run next week. Next fall, ”Bones” will lead into new drama ”Mob Doctor.”

And at CW, ”Gossip Girl” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 1.2 million viewers overall) rebounded from its low of last week, while ”Hart of Dixie” (0.6/1 in 18-49, 1.5 million viewers overall) held steady in demos while gaining total viewers. It was the season finale for the series, both of which will return next season.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 3.3/9; NBC, 3.0/8; ABC, 2.5/7; Fox, 2.0/6; Univision, 1.4/4; CW, 0.6/2.

In total viewers: ABC, 11.9 million; CBS, 10.4 million; NBC, 8.9 million; Fox, 6.8 million; Univision, 3.6 million; CW, 1.3 million.

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