‘Ally’ tackles key demos in gridcast war

Fox show bests 'MNF' for first time ever

Fox’s powerful sophomore season premiere of “Ally McBeal” beat ABC’s “Monday Night Football” in the 9-10 p.m. timeslot among adults 18-49 for the first time ever.

“Ally” scored a 10.9 rating and 16 share in households, which was up a whopping 49% from its premiere last year and 33% from its frosh season’s average. It was the highest-rated “Ally” since March 9, when it didn’t have to compete against football.

Among the key adults 18-49 demo, “Ally” rated an 8.3/20, edging out football (8.1) for the hour by 3%. The last time anyone beat “Monday Night Football” among young adults was Nov. 24, when Fox aired its first wildly successful “Magic’s Greatest Secrets Revealed” special.

“Ally’s” adults 18-49 season premiere rating outperformed last year’s bow by 60% and last season’s average by 30%. It was the highest rating show of the night in that demo, beating “Monday Night Football’s” 7.6/20 average.

Last season “Ally” was considered an alternative to football, but this year the show is actually stealing viewers away.

Monday’s Washington vs. San Francisco game rated a 12.7/21 in homes, down 14% from the debut game last week and 5% from game two last year, making it the lowest-rated game since Dec. 23, 1996. Among young adults (7.6/20), football tumbled 22% from last week and 4% from game two last season.

Boost for ‘MP’

The return of “Ally McBeal” also lifted ratings for Fox’s 8 p.m. Monday stalwart, “Melrose Place,” to its highest since its summer premiere.

While it rose four adults 18-49 share points compared to last week, the sudser’s ballyhooed 200th episode still fell 12% below the show’s young adults rating for the same week last year (its second episode of the season).

In another strange twist on the evening, CBS defeated NBC on a Monday night among adults 18-49 for the first time since June 1997.

NBC, which aired a movie instead of sitcoms and “Dateline,” placed last among the Big Four in adults 18-49 every half-hour. CBS’ “48 Hours” (3.9) defeated “Dateline” (3.6) among young adults for the second time, while tying in households (7.7/13).

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