CBS rolls; 'Vegas' tops ABC's returning 'Body of Proof'

CBS vet “NCIS” was the standout performer on Tuesday, a night that saw a puny premiere for CW’s “Cult” and sickly scores for NBC’s lineup, capped by “Smash.” ABC did well with its “Bachelor” special, but the return of “Body of Proof” didn’t do much behind it.

Overall, according to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, CBS dominated behind “NCIS” (3.5 rating/10 share in adults 18-49, 20.9 million viewers overall) — the night’s No. 1 show in 18-49, 25-54 (5.1/13) and total viewers — and “NCIS: Los Angeles” (2.7/7 in 18-49, 16.3 million viewers overall), which ranked second among Tuesday’s top shows.

And closing out the night for CBS, rookie drama “Vegas” remains the weak link (1.5/4 in 18-49, 9.7 million viewers overall), though it ruled as the broadcast leader opposite ABC’s returning “Body of Proof” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 6.7 million viewers overall) and NBC’s second week of “Smash” (0.9/2 in 18-49, 3.3 million viewers overall).

“Smash” dropped about 20% from its soft premiere score of Feb. 5, but it was pretty much in line with its sluggish lead-in from “The New Normal” (1.0/2 in 18-49, 2.9 million viewers overall), which like “Go On” in the half-hour before it (1.1/3 in 18-49, 3.3 million viewers overall) remains ineffective without “The Voice” as a lead-in.

NBC’s best numbers on the night — albeit with a mere 4 share of the young-adult audience — came from “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall with an original at 8 and 1.4/4 in 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall for a repeat at 8:30). “The Voice” returns to Tuesdays starting March 26.

Elsewhere, ABC saw slight week-to-week gains for cooking competition series “The Taste” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 4.9 million viewers overall), which moves to 9 p.m. starting next week. And at 9, “The Bachelor: Sean Tells All” (2.6/7 in 18-49, 8.1 million viewers overall) finished a close second to “NCIS: Los Angeles” in 18-49, performing about as well as the previous “Bachelor” Tuesday special a couple of weeks ago.

Fox’s comedy block was down from its most recent outing of two weeks ago, though “New Girl” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 4.4 million viewers overall) doubled up NBC’s “Go On” in the 9 o’clock half-hour, and “The Mindy Project” (1.6/4 in 18-49, 3.0 million viewers overall) easily bested “New Normal” at 9:30. “New Girl” was also Tuesday’s No. 1 show in adults 18-34 (2.5/8).

Kicking off the night, “Raising Hope” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 3.7 million viewers overall) stood as the night’s No. 3 comedy, finishing ahead of both of NBC’s 9 o’clock-hour laffers in 18-49 for the first time.

At CW, “Hart of Dixie” continues to do OK (0.5/1 in 18-49, 1.4 million viewers overall), and it sure looked a whole lot better than “Cult,” which bowed to a mere 0.3/1 in 18-49 and about 940,000 viewers overall. Former slot occupant “Emily Owens, M.D.” ended its run on Feb. 5 in the same 9 o’clock hour with a 0.4/1 in 18-49 and 1.5 million viewers overall; and in the net’s target demo of 18-34, “Emily’s” finale crushed “Cult’s” debut (0.5 to 0.2).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 2.6/7; ABC, 1.8/5; Univision, 1.7/5; Fox, 1.7/4; NBC, 1.1/3; CW, 0.4/1.

In total viewers: CBS, 15.6 million; ABC, 6.6 million; Univision, 4.0 million; NBC, 3.7 million; Fox, 3.5 million; CW, 1.2 million.

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