ABC drama 'The River' flows decently in premiere

ABC’s limited-run thriller ”The River” did OK in its two-hour premiere Tuesday, a night that was dominated early by CBS vet ”NCIS,” which was the top-rated program in key demos while again soaring above the 20-million viewer mark overall.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, the 200th episode of ”NCIS” averaged a 4.1 rating/11 share in adults 18-49 and 20.8 million viewers overall; the show is having a great ninth season, ranking as TV’s No. 1 drama in adults 25-54 and as the No. 1 scripted program in total viewers.

It was followed by ”NCIS: Los Angeles” (3.1/8 in 18-49, 16.1 million viewers overall), which led its hour in 18-49 and 25-54, and ”Unforgettable” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 11.7 million viewers overall), which led in 25-54. CBS edged out Fox for the night’s lead in 18-49 while taking each half-hour in adults 25-54 and total viewers.

At Fox, ”Glee” (3.2/9 in 18-49, 7.7 million viewers overall) ran second to ”NCIS” in most categories while winning among the 12-34 crowd (3.1/10); it was down half a ratings point from last week when a Michael Jackson-themed episode juiced the show’s numbers. It was followed by ”New Girl” (3.5/9 in 18-49, 6.9 million viewers overall), which remains steady and led its timeslot in 18-49, and by ”Raising Hope” (2.2/5 in 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall), which was up a smidge week to week but remained fourth in 18-49.

ABC opened with two episodes of ”Last Man Standing,” with the first in its regular 8 o’clock slot averaging a 2.3/6 in 18-49 and 7.8 million viewers overall, and the second (featuring guest star Kim Kardashian) edging up to a 2.5/6 and 8 million viewers overall. From 9 to 11 p.m., new drama ”The River” averaged a 2.4/6 in 18-49 and 7.5 million viewers overall , dropping off a bit in 18-49 rating throughout the night but maintaining its share. While not a great number, it produced ABC’s best results in the timeslot since ”Dancing With the Stars” exited in late November, narrowly winning the 10 o’clock hour in 18-49; it should keep the net in pretty good shape in the 9 o’clock hour until ”Dancing With the Stars” returns in late March.

Beginning next week, ”Cougar Town” rejoins the ABC lineup at 8:30 p.m., and ”The River” will be followed at 10 p.m. by ”Body of Proof.”

NBC ran fourth with ”The Biggest Loser” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 6.4 million viewers overall) and a low-rated ”Parenthood” (1.6/4 in 18-49, 4.6 million viewers overall). Former beat out ”The River” and ”Raising Hope” to take second place in 18-49 at 9:30 (2.5/6).

At CW, ”90210” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 1.4 million viewers overall) was on par with last week, while ”Ringer” (0.5/1 in 18-49, 1.1 million viewers overall) was down a bit. Latter is not connecting with the youngest of adults, as its 0.4 rating in adults 18-34 was merely half of the 0.8 for its ”90210” lead-in.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 3.1/8; Fox, 3.0/8; ABC, 2.4/6; NBC, 2.0/5; Univision, 1.6/4; CW, 0.6/1.

In total viewers: CBS, 16.2 million; ABC, 7.6 million; Fox, 6.8 million; NBC, 5.8 million; Univision, 3.8 million; CW, 1.4 million.

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