Royal bow for Eye’s ‘King’

Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

CBS laffer “King of Queens” looked right at home in its new Wednesday timeslot, delivering a strong second-place finish to NBC’s “West Wing” among young adults and defeating both ABC’s “The Bachelor” and the finale of Fox’s “Paradise Hotel.” NBC, with its strong 9 to 11 p.m. dramas, ruled the night overall.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, the one-hour season bow of “King” averaged a 4.9/12 in adults 18-49 and 13.7 million viewers overall, more than doubling the demo lead-in of “60 Minutes II” (2.3/6 in adults 18-49, 10 million viewers overall). The comedy was up over “Amazing Race” in the hour a year ago by about 25%. Unfortunately, the good push from 9 to 10 didn’t help rookie drama “The Poland of Brotherhood, N.H.” (2.3/6 in adults 18-49, 7.2 million viewers overall), which was down a tick from its soft premiere.

For NBC, “Law & Order” (6.3/17 in adults 18-49, 17.2 million viewers overall) led the way at 10, while “West Wing” again looked healthy at 9 (5.5/13 in adults 18-49, 16.2 million viewers overall), leading in demos and up a tick vs. its second episode of last season. At 8, “Ed” (2.8/8 in adults 18-49, 8.1 million viewers overall) came down to earth after last week’s great start.

ABC received a solid opening-week perf from 8:30 comedy “It’s All Relative” (first-place 4.4/12 in adults 18-49, 10.9 million viewers overall), which retained most of its lead-in from “My Wife and Kids” (4.7/14 in adults 18-49, 11.9 million viewers overall). Lead-out “The Bachelor” (4.6/11 in adults 18-49) settled for a third-place tie with the final hour of Fox’s “Paradise” and was definitely impacted by its presence. At 10, new drama “Karen Sisco” (3.4/9 in adults 18-49, 9.2 million viewers overall) ran a distant second and lost more than 10% of its aud in the second half-hour.

Fox was third in 18-49 with a two-hour “Paradise Hotel” but led easily in adults 18-34 (5.3/15), peaking with a 6.4/17 at 9:30.

The WB’s “Smallville” got off to a solid start on its new night, kicking things off for the Frog with a third-place 18-49 and 18-34 finish from 8 to 9.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 4.9/13; ABC, 4.2/11; Fox, 3.7/10; CBS, 3.2/8; WB, 2.4/6; UPN, 1.3/3.

In total viewers: NBC’s 13.8 million was well ahead of the pack.

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