'River' falls 30% for ABC

CBS cruised to a primetime ratings victory Tuesday, with ABC sinking to fourth place on the night amid the return of “Cougar Town” and the second week of “The River.”

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, CBS won or tied for first in every halfhour, led by “NCIS” (3.9 rating/11 share in 18-49, 19.4 million viewers overall) at 8 p.m.

“NCIS: Los Angeles” (3.2/8, 16.1 million) was matched in its first 30 minutes among viewers 18-49 by Fox’s “New Girl” (3.2/8, 6.6 million) but held a massive advantage in overall viewers nonetheless. At 10 p.m., “Unforgettable” (2.3/6, 11.0 million) completed the CBS sweep.

In its first original episode since May 25, “Cougar Town” (1.8/5, 4.8 million) at 8:30 p.m. shed approximately a third of the overall viewership of lead-in “Last Man Standing” (2.2/7, 7.6 million) but only 18% in the 18-49 demo. In the 8:30 p.m. timeslot a week ago, a second episode of “Last Man” with guest star Kim Kardashian drew a 2.5/6, 8.0 million.

Compared with the same night a year ago, “Cougar Town” gave ABC a 20% improvement in the timeslot.

Airing at 9 p.m., “The River” (1.7/4, 5.0 million) fell approximately 30% from its two-hour premiere Feb. 7 and finished fourth in its timeslot, leading into “Body of Proof” (1.2/3, 6.2 million) at 10 p.m.

Fox finished second for the night, buoyed by “New Girl” and “Glee” (2.8/8, 6.9 million), which declined from the previous week despite much advance publicity about the performance by one of the characters of the late Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.” Fox wrapped things up at 9:30 p.m. with “Raising Hope” (2.1/5, 4.7 million), which was steady compared with the previous episode.

NBC aired its two-hour “The Biggest Loser” (2.0/6, 5.8 million), which ranked second in its final halfhour, and 10 p.m. drama “Parenthood” (1.6/4, 4.4 million), while the CW had the night’s only repeat, “Hart of Dixie” (0.3/1, 0.7 million), followed by a new episode of “Ringer’ (0.3/1, 1.1 million).

Overall television viewing from 8-10 p.m. was down 7.3 % from the previous week.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS 3.1/9, Fox 2.7/7, NBC 1.9/5, ABC 1.6/4, Univision 1.5/4, CW 0.3/1.

In total viewers: CBS 15.5 million, Fox 6.3 million, ABC 5.8 million, NBC 5.4 million, Univision 3.8 million, CW 0.9 million.

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