“Show time” has taken on a whole new meaning for Los Angeles Lakers icon Earvin (Magic) Johnson. The Monday bow of his latenight talkshow wasn’t a Nielsen slam dunk, but it wasn’t a foul, either.

Twentieth TV’s “The Magic Hour” scored a 3.0 household rating and 8 share in Nielsen’s 40 overnight metered markets in its premiere outing, which featured Arnold Schwarzenegger and Whitney Houston.

In the overnight markets, which cover about 60% of U.S. TV households, “Magic” on average delivered 20% higher ratings than the 2.5/7 the stations averaged in the timeslot during the past May sweep. “Magic” performed well in the lead-in retention measure, dropping just 17% from its lead-in average of a 3.6/8.

“Magic’s” preem proved strong enough to come in ahead of CBS’ “Late Show With David Letterman” in Gotham and L.A. Airing at 11:30 p.m. on Fox O&O WNYW New York, “Magic” came in fourth in the timeslot with a 4.4/11, which marked a 120% hike over the 2.0/5 the station averaged in the timeslot in May.

At 11 p.m. on Fox O&O KTTV Los Angeles, “Magic” also landed in fourth (behind KCAL’s “Jerry Springer Show,” KNBC’s late news and first half of “The Tonight Show” and KABC’s late news and “Nightline”) with a 5.2/13, a 63% improvement over KTTV’s May sweep average.

“Magic’s” first-day ratings were in the ballpark of the debut performances of the most recent syndie latenight contenders, the now-canceled “The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show” and “Vibe.” “Wayans” came out of the box last August with a 3.9/9 in the overnight markets, while “Vibe’s” bow on the same day earned a 3.1/7.