Auds fall in love with newlyweds’ retro spec

Show was Easter night's top-rated in under-50 demos

Viewers looking for something fresh — and yet very retro — made ABC spec “The Nick & Jessica Variety Hour” a ratings winner Sunday night.

A one-off that could turn into a series of specs or possibly even a series, the variety show hosted by married couple Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson averaged a hearty 4.7 rating/11 share in adults 18-49 and 11.4 million viewers overall from 9 to 10, according to prelim Nielsen nationals.

Ratings dipped on the half-hour as some of the curious didn’t stick around, but “Nick & Jessica” finished with a prelim 5.2/13 in adults 18-34, also a strong No. 1 for its slot.

Show was Easter night’s top-rated broadcast in the under-50 demos with scores that top every result this season for regular ABC slot occupant “Alias.”

Featuring songs and skits that harked back to the days of “Sonny and Cher,” Sunday’s hour had a decidedly retro feel with guests including Mr. T, the Muppets and Kenny Rogers.

“Nick & Jessica” built on the first-place demo lead-in of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (4.5/12 in 18-49, 11.7 million viewers overall), which hit series highs in adults 18-34 (4.0/13), adults 25-54 (5.2/13) and key male demos, according to Nielsen prelims.

From 9 to 11, NBC’s original movie “Homeland Security” was nothing special (prelim 3.1/8 in 18-49, 9.0 million), overtaken in its final hour by the broadcast premiere of Mel Gibson pic “The Patriot” on CBS.

Earlier Sunday, the final round of golf’s Masters on CBS averaged a 7.3 rating/18 share in metered-market overnights, down from a 9.3/19 for last year’s final round, which was extended to a playoff and did not air on Easter.

This year’s two-day Masters fast national household average (6.7/17) is on par with last year’s 6.9/17.

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