ABC sees mixed results as ‘Wonderland’ bows

Drama scores 13.16 mil viewers, can't beat 'ER' repeat

“Wonderland,” ABC’s drama challenge to top-ranked “ER,” bowed Thursday to mixed ratings fortunes: While the gritty hour fared better than any drama the net has tried on Thursday in nearly 6 years, it lost 22% of its audience in the second half-hour.

The Touchstone/Imagine drama about the doctors at a New York psychiatric hospital attracted 13.16 million viewers and an adults 18-49 rating of 5.2/15, according to Nielsen. For the hour, it ranked second behind a repeat “ER” in total viewers (14.04 million) and trailed the season’s highest-rated entertainment series by 22% in adults 18-49 (6.7/19).

“Wonderland” took advantage of its huge lead-in from “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” (28.99 million viewers, 9.2/24 in adults 18-49) to post a strong 14.8 million viewers in its first half-hour, edging “ER” (14.4 million), but then dropped by 22% in total viewers and by 16% in adults 18-49 from 10:30 to 11. Overall, “Wonderland” retained 45% of its “Millionaire” lead-in among total viewers and 57% among adults 18-49.

While “Wonderland” is ABC’s highest-rated Thursday drama in adults 18-49 since “My So Called Life” in August, 1994, the Alphabet web had been faring slightly better with news programming in the hour. Since “Millionaire” premiered as a Thursday regular in January, ABC’s “20/20 — Downtown” had averaged 14.4 million viewers (8% better than “Wonderland”) and a 5.2 rating in adults 18-49 (even).

The drama did a better job holding onto the male portion of its “Millionaire” lead-in than the female, which remains loyal to “ER” even in repeat. Among men 18-49, “Wonderland” posted a 16 share (down 27% from “Millionaire’s” 22), while among women 18-49, it drew a 17 share (down 39% from the quizzer’s 28).

ABC won the night in total viewers, but NBC got more good news from rookie Touchstone comedy “Daddio” (15.17 million, 7.6/21 in A18-49). The family laffer’s second episode retained 96% of its adults 18-49 lead-in from a “Friends” repeat, NBC’s best hold for any regularly scheduled comedy in the 8:30 slot since “Just Shoot Me” retained 98% on April 30, 1998.

“Daddio” also retained 100% of its women 18-49 “Friends” lead-in, 99% among adults 25-54 and 94% among kids.

The news wasn’t that good for the Peacock’s 9:30 comedy entry, “Battery Park” (9.60 million, 5.0/13 in A18-49), which got battered by “Millionaire” in its second week.

On Friday, ABC’s music-based reality series “Making the Band” (prelim 8.7 million, 3.0/9 in A18-49) placed second in its slot in both viewers and most key demos. “Band” retained 100% of its teens lead-in from “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” (4.0), a marked improvement over the 74% retention that “The Hughleys” had been averaging in the 9:30 slot.

Fast national data was unavailable from Nielsen for Saturday’s action, which included the NCAA men’s basketball semifinals on CBS and World Figure Skating competition on ABC. In overnights, CBS’ hoops action scored an 8.9/16 from 8-10:30, besting ABC’s two hours of skating (7.1/13) from 9-11.

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