CBS dominates; Fox comedy hits three-month high

Returning to originals after a couple of weeks in repeats, CBS dramas “NCIS” and “NCIS: Los Angeles” dominated Tuesday as the Eye swept the night in key categories. It was also a good night for Fox’s “New Girl,” which spiked and opened up big advantages on its comedy rivals.

Not so hot in its second week was ABC’s “The Taste,” which tumbled more than 20% from its premiere but did as well as anything else opposite the “NCIS” juggernaut.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “NCIS” opened the night for CBS with a big 3.7 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and 21.8 million viewers overall, ruling as the night’s top program in both categories and logging its second largest overall audience of the season (behind its most recent original three weeks ago).

“NCIS: Los Angeles” (3.1/8 in 18-49, 17.2 million viewers overall) followed and stood as Tuesday’s No. 2 program while logging its best 18-49 score since early October. And closing things out for CBS, “Vegas” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 11.1 million viewers overall) benefited from a lack of major-network drama competition to win its hour and also post best-since-October scores.

Elsewhere, Fox was above average thanks in part to a double serving of “Raising Hope” (averaging 1.6/4 in 18-49, 3.6 million viewers overall for its two half-hours). And that seemed to help “New Girl” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall), which hit a three-month high in 18-49 and topped the combined scores of the competing ABC and NBC comedies airing opposite it. “New Girl” was the night’s No. 1 program in adults 18-34 (2.8/8).

Also on the high side was first-year 9:30 p.m. comedy “The Mindy Project” (1.7/4 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall), which easily beat its comedy competition in 18-49 and posted its best score since early October.

At ABC, cooking competition series “The Taste” (1.6/4 in 18-49, 4.8 million viewers overall) dropped 24% from its two-hour premiere average a week ago; still, that left it tied with Fox’s “Raising Hope” and ahead of NBC’s hour of “Off Their Rockers” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 5.2 million viewers overall at 8 p.m. and 1.5/4 in 18-49, 5.3 million viewers overall at 8:30 p.m.).

Following “The Taste,” “Happy Endings” did a 1.2/3 in 18-49 and 2.9 million viewers overall, tying for the first time with NBC’s “Go On” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 3.9 million viewers overall), which is clearly missing its lead-in from “The Voice.” And at 9:30 p.m., a second original of “Happy Endings” (1.3/3 in 18-49, 2.8 million viewers overall) beat out in demos NBC’s “The New Normal” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall). And at 10, a special repeat of last week’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” featuring Matt Damon did a 1.2/3 in 18-49 and 3.2 million viewers overall — well behind CBS’ “Vegas” but competitive in 18-49 with a special “Dateline” on NBC (1.3/4 in 18-49, 5.0 million viewers overall).

CW’s “Hart of Dixie” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 1.3 million viewers overall) and “Emily Owens, M.D.” (0.4/1 in 18-49, 1.4 million viewers overall) were in line with their recent averages.

Univision tied Fox for second in 18-49 and ranked third in total viewers Tuesday, led by “Amores Verdaderos” (True Love), which averaged a preliminary 2.0/5 in 18-49 and 4.7 million viewers overall in the 9 o’clock hour.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 2.9/8; Fox and Univision, 1.8/5; ABC and NBC, 1.3/4; CW, 0.5/1.

In total viewers: CBS, 16.7 million; NBC, 4.6 million; Univision, 4.2 million; Fox, 3.8 million; ABC, 3.6 million; CW, 1.3 million.

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