Solid Return ABC's 'Dancing with the

It's up from its fall premiere but faces tough challenge next week from NBC's 'The Voice'

ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” came back with winning numbers Monday night, but must now brace for tough reality competition next week when NBC’s “The Voice” returns. Monday also featured a solid finish for NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” and the combo of “Loser” and “Dancing” seemed to take a toll on both the CBS comedies and Fox dramas opposite them.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “Dancing With the Stars” averaged a 3.1 rating/8 share in adults 18-49 and 16.8 million viewers overall to rule as the night’s No. 1 program in both categories. Though down 11% from its year-ago spring premiere (3.5), “Dancing” topped last fall’s premiere (2.5) by 24%; both of those “Dancing” openers faced “The Voice,” so the hoofing vet can be expected to fall off next week. Monday’s opening demo score also topped the “Dancing” fall finale in late November (3.0/8 on a Tuesday) and is the second best result from 8 to 10 p.m. on a Monday for ABC (behind only last week’s “Bachelor” finale) since last April.

As an illustration of “Dancing’s” older skew, consider that its 3.1 rating in 18-49 lagged last week’s two-hour “Bachelor” finale (3.5), but its 4.3 rating in adults 25-54 was 10% better. And overall, “Dancing” drew more than 6 million total viewers than the dating series. In total viewers, the 16.8 million for “Dancing With the Stars” ranks second among all unscripted telecasts this season (behind only the season premiere of Fox’s “American Idol”).

Following “Dancing” on ABC, which captured the night in demos and total viewers, was a winning performance by “Castle” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 11.2 million viewers overall), though it was down slightly in the demo vs. its most recent episode, which aired after “The Bachelor,” but hit a season high in total viewers.

Elsewhere, NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” wrapped its 14th edition with a 2.6/7 in 18-49 and 7.3 million viewers overall from 8 to 10 p.m., rising 30% week to week and topping its January season premiere by 8% (2.6 vs. 2.4). It also bested the show’s most recent finale, which was an hour long and aired on a Tuesday (2.2). And following “Loser,” NBC’s rookie drama “Deception” wrapped its season with a 1.3/3 in 18-49 and 3.5 million viewers overall — up 18% (0.2) from last week, though the show remains a long shot to return for a second season.

CBS was led by leadoff hitter “How I Met Your Mother” (2.9/9 in 18-49, 7.3 million viewers overall), which tied with “Dancing” for the 18-49 lead in the 8 o’clock half-hour while also ruling as Monday’s No. 1 program in adults 18-34 (2.4/8) as well as all key male demos. The net then dropped off as usual at 8:30 p.m. with “Rules of Engagement” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 6.6 million viewers overall) before picking back up with “2 Broke Girls” (2.7/7 in 18-49, 8.3 million viewers overall) and “Mike & Molly” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 8.2 million viewers overall). “How I Met Your Mother,” “2 Broke Girls” and “Mike & Molly” were all down by more than 10% from their most recent original of two weeks ago.

And at 10, “Hawaii Five-0″ (2.1/6 in 18-49, 8.7 million viewers overall), finished just a tick behind ABC’s “Castle” in both 18-49 and 25-54.

At Fox, both “Bones” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 7.3 million viewers overall) and “The Following” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 7.1 million viewers overall) were on the low end of their ratings range for the season, although the latter rookie drama was again the night’s No. 1 scripted hour in 18-49.

CW’s “The Carrie Diaries” (0.5/1 in 18-49, 1.0 million viewers overall) was in line with its recent scores, and was followed by a special repeat of “Hart of Dixie” (0.2/0 in 18-49, 0.5 million viewers overall), which is filling in while “90210” rests.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 2.8/7; CBS, 2.4/6; NBC and Fox, 2.2/6; Univision, 1.5/4; CW, 0.3/1.
In total viewers: ABC, 14.9 million; CBS, 8.0 million; Fox, 7.2 million; NBC, 6.0 million; Univision, 3.5 million; CW, 0.8 million.

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