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No laughing matter

Fox's all-toon Tuesday falls flat

In its first test against aggressive firstrun competition, Fox’s all-animation Tuesday lineup has fallen to fourth for the night in adults 18-49 with lowest-yet numbers.

Facing lineups fortified for the sweeps, Fox settled for a 5.5 rating, 9 share in homes and a 3.5/10 in adults 18-49 from 8-10 p.m. Two of the previous three Tuesdays, Fox had risen to second in adults 18-49 while facing rerun-marred schedules.

At 8:30, “Futurama” (5.8/10 in homes, 3.7/11 in adults 18-49), the slot’s 18-49 winner the previous three weeks, slipped to fourth place for that half-hour. At 8 p.m., “King of the Hill” (4.8/8 in homes, 3.2/11 in adults 18-49) eroded to its lowest-ever firstrun 18-49 rating.

ABC edged NBC to win Tuesday in adults 18-49, but slipped to third in households. ABC’s “Home Improvement” (9.2/16 in homes, 5.8/20 in adults 18-49) settled for its lowest firstrun homes rating this season, despite the series’ impending finale later this month. At 10 p.m., its “NYPD Blue” (9.6/16 in homes, 5.6/16 in adults 18-49) equaled its second-lowest homes rating, as it faced Oklahoma tornado coverage on “Dateline NBC” (11.2/19 in homes, 6.3/17 in adults 18-49).

It was ABC’s lowest Tuesday homes rating ever with regular firstrun fare.

‘JAG’ paces CBS

CBS took the night in homes, led by “JAG” (10.0/17 in homes, 3.6/11 in adults 18-49).

Fox’s 10 share in adults 18-49 for the night is down from last May’s average 14 on Tuesdays and the 12 Fox averaged on the night during this season’s November and February sweeps.

The animation lineup’s results are still respectable, and Fox is unlikely to panic, especially since Tuesday becomes a wide-open race next fall after “Home Improvement” retires.

Six nights into the four-week May sweeps, NBC continues to lead by 4 shares in homes and 7 in adults 18-49, thanks to the boost of “Noah’s Ark.”