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‘Smallville’ bow super for the WB

Skein draws the best preem numbers in netlet's history

Young Superman tale “Smallville” proved to be more powerful than a locomotive Tuesday, premiering to some of the best ratings in the WB net’s seven-year history.

Tuesday also saw continued boffo ratings for the CBS dramas, more good news for rookie laffers “Undeclared” (Fox) and “Scrubs” (NBC), and slight improvement for a beleaguered ABC.

According to Nielsen Media Research, the 68-minute premiere of the critically acclaimed “Smallville” (9-10:08 p.m.) attracted the largest audience ever for a series preem on the WB (8.35 million viewers) — outdrawing ABC’s comedies and Fox’s “Love Cruise” to finish third for the hour.

It also bagged the best 18-49 rating for a Frog net series premiere (3.8/9) as well as the best score for any episode of any series in the WB’s history among adults 18-34 (4.5/12), men 18-34 (5.0/14) and men 18-49 (3.9/10).

Testosterone boost

The strong male demos are especially encouraging for the heavily femme Frog net.

“Smallville” won its hour in demos such as persons 12-34 (4.4/12), men 18-34 (5.0/14) and teens (4.1/15), growing through its broadcast.

Net’s “Gilmore Girls” (5.99m, 2.4/6) also did well, improving in several categories from its strong season preem a week earlier.

CBS won the night in adults 25-54 for a second consecutive week (5.6/13) and tied for second with NBC in 18-49 (4.4/11), just 1 share behind first-place Fox (4.6/12). Net also continued its domination on the night in total viewers, with each drama winning its hour.

Despite increased drama competition from “Smallville,” rookie hit “The Guardian” drew the largest aud since its premiere (15.08m) and was second to NBC’s comedies in adults 25-54 (4.9/11). “JAG” (17.27m), the most-watched show of the night, and “Judging Amy” (season-high 16.06m) both topped their hours in 25-54, with “Amy” also winning in 18-49 (4.8/12).

Fox received strong ratings for its Tuesday comedies “That ’70s Show” (10.27m, 5.5/15 in 18-49) and “Undeclared” (8.49m, 4.8/12), both of which won their slots in 18-49 and 18-34. “Undeclared” has held onto 90% or more of its lead-in every week.

Fox clinched the night in 18-49 — its first Tuesday victory of the season — when reality skein “Love Cruise” wrapped with the best numbers of its seven-seg run (7.26m, 4.1/10 in 18-49).

‘Scrubs’ cleans up

NBC’s “Scrubs” (12.71m, 5.8/14 in 18-49) also continues to look good, retaining 92% of its “Frasier” 18-49 lead-in (5.8 vs. 6.3) and 94% in 18-34 (4.7 vs. 5.0). It won its half-hour in 18-49 for a third straight week.

But the Peacock’s “Emeril” fell to new lows in its fourth outing (6.70m, 2.6/7 in 18-49), dropping 8 shares behind Fox’s ” ’70s Show” in 18-49.

ABC’s revamped lineup improved by 9% week to week in both 18-49 and total viewers but remained fourth in the demo. “Spin City” (7.68m, 3.9/9 in 18-49) pulled ABC to within 6 shares of comedy rival “Frasier” (down from last week’s 9-share disadvantage with “Bob Patterson”), and in the less competitive 9:30 slot, “Bob” (7.18m, 3.3/8) improved vs. the previous week.

At 10, “Philly” added viewers week to week (to 9.30m), but declined another tick in 18-49 (to 3.7/9).

UPN’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (6.03m, 2.8/8 in 18-49) improved week to week, topping the WB’s “Gilmore Girls” (5.99m, 2.4/6). “Buffy” got the best of the weblet war in 18-34 (3.5/10 vs. 2.8/8), with “Gilmore” doing better among women (3.9 vs. 3.7) and “Buffy” better among men (3.3 vs. 1.7).

But at 9, UPN’s “Roswell” (3.03m, 1.2/3 in 18-49) clearly felt the effects of “Smallville,” slipping 29% week to week in 18-49.

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