‘Practice’ debut helps ABC to Tuesday victory

“The Practice,” ABC’s much-anticipated midseason replacement drama, had a strong debut Tuesday night, helping to lift the Alphabet web to first place in households as well as adults 18-49.

Also debuting Tuesday was NBC’s midseason comedy “Just Shoot Me,” which played in the 9:30 p.m. slot follow-ing “Frasier” before moving to its permanent slot Wednesday night at 9:30.

For the night, ABC won in households with a 10.8 rating and 17 share, according to Nielsen. That just beat NBC’s 10.6/17 while CBS averaged a 9.8/15 and Fox scored a 9.5/15 with its two-hour premiere of the theatrical “Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit.”

“The Practice” averaged an 11.3/19 in the 10-11 p.m. slot usually held by “NYPD Blue,” which is on a six-week break. While the premiere rating is off from “NYPD Blue’s” 12.9/22 average, it is still a solid start; if the show continues to perform, it will no doubt further complicate ABC’s schedulers when they try to decide where to per-manently place the show in the fall.

ABC also is running “Ellen” in the 8:30 Tuesday slot following “Roseanne” for the next six weeks while “Arsenio” tests the Wednesday 9:30 slot. A repeat “Ellen” averaged an 8.4/13, well below the 10.5/17 the comedy had been averaging in the Wednesday 9:30 slot and below “Life’s Work’s” 9.5/15 in the Tuesday slot.

NBC’s sneak of “Just Shoot Me” averaged a 10.2/16, off from “Caroline in the City’s” 11.2/17 average in that slot. However, “Just Shoot Me” was up against a new episode of ABC’s “Spin City” and its lead-in, “Frasier,” was a re-peat. The show finished second in adults 18-49 and 25-54.

Separately, ABC confirmed that the midseason dramas “Leaving L.A.” and “Gun” will premiere on Saturday, April 12, from 9-11 p.m. Also, “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” will move to Saturday that night in the 8 p.m. slot.

“Dangerous Minds,” which currently airs in the 8 p.m. Saturday slot, will finish its freshman run on March 15. ABC has not decided how to fill the timeslot between March 22 and April 12.

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