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Alphabet comedies lead pack on Tuesday night

Ritter's final 'Rules' run boosts ABC

HOLLYWOOD — The first of John Ritter’s final episodes of his ABC comedy “8 Simple Rules” was easily the top-rated program on the first Tuesday of the season.

Strong perf also helped the Alphabet comedies airing behind it, the new “I’m With Her” and vet “According to Jim,” open well. Night was also a good one for NBC’s “Frasier” and “Law & Order: SVU” and UPN laffer “All of Us,” but it wasn’t kind to the premiere of the WB drama “One Tree Hill” or skedmate “Gilmore Girls.”

And in something of a surprise, hot rookie FX drama “Nip/Tuck,” despite facing three broadcast dramas at 10, hit a ratings high.

Overall, ABC led the night in 18-49 (5.0/13), with NBC a solid second (4.5/12) and first in overall audience, edging out CBS, according to Nielsen.

“8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter” (7.0/21 in adults 18-49, 16.97 million viewers overall) hit a series high with its second-season opener and teamed with the premiere of romantic comedy “I’m With Her” (5.7/16 in adults 18-49, 13.19m) to give ABC a lock on the opening hour. “Her” was especially strong in women 25-54 (7.5/18).

‘Frasier’ rebound

The Alphabet also led in 18-49 at 9 with third-year “According to Jim” (5.4/14), which beat out the first half of an hourlong “Frasier” on NBC (5.0/13). “Frasier,” which easily led at 9:30 opposite ABC’s “Less Than Perfect” (5.7/14 vs. 4.0/10), was down from its season opener a year ago but looked healthier relative to its shaky season-closing numbers.

“Good Morning Miami” will bow at 9:30 for NBC this Tuesday.

From 8 to 9, rookie laffers “Whoopi” (2.9/9 in A18-49, 8.77m) and “Happy Family” (3.2/9, 9.24m) again declined but are at respectable levels given the ABC momentum in the hour.

The Peacock closed the night strong, with “Law & Order: SVU” (5.2/14 in A18-49, 13.23m) dominating ABC’s “NYPD Blue” (3.8/10, 10.24m) and CBS’ “Judging Amy” (3.0/8, 11.85m). Fifth-year “Amy” hit a firstrun 18-49 low and 11th-year “Blue” flirted with its lowest.

Slice of aud

Opposite the three network dramas, FX’s “Nip/Tuck” stitched together its best delivery to date among adults 18-49 and 25-54 (2.7 million viewers in each). Skein, which will wrap its first season Oct. 21, ranks as basic cable’s highest-rated new series of the year in the those demos.

At CBS, “JAG” spinoff “Navy NCIS” (2.6/8 in adults 18-49, 13.03m) placed second in 25-54 (4.1/11) and, like the other shows in the 8 o’clock hour, was likely impacted by ABC’s strength. At 9, “The Guardian” (2.6/7 in A18-49, 11.75m,) retained most of its 18-49 lead-in from “NCIS” and posted its best 25-54 score since February (third-place 3.8/9).

In a surprise, UPN bested the WB on the night in adults 18-34 (1.6/5 vs. 1.5/5) as Tuesday fell apart for the Frog without “Smallville.”

“Gilmore Girls” (1.8/5 in A18-49, 4.53m) tumbled 38% year-to-year in 18-34 (2.1/7 vs. 3.4/10) and new drama “One Tree Hill” (0.8/2, 2.48m) was barely a blip on the ratings screen, topped in 18-34 by UPN’s combo of “Rock Me Baby” and “The Mullets” (1.3/4 vs. 0.9/3).

UPN is looking pretty solid from 8 to 9, especially new 8:30 laffer “All of Us,” which built nicely on “One on One” in adults 18-34 (2.3/7 vs. 1.6/6) and was up a tick from its preem.

Fox, with a special two-hour seg of “Paradise Hotel,” ran third on the night in 18-49 (3.4/9) but was definitely a factor among the youngest of adults, edging out ABC from 8 to 10 to win among 18-34 (4.5/14).

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