Sophs hit their stride

'Cold Case,' 'NCIS' on ratings rise

HOLLYWOOD — CBS is on a roll this fall, and it doesn’t figure to be derailed anytime soon thanks to a strong core of young skeins.

One of the best indicators of a scripted show with hit potential is how it fares in its second season, and three of the Eye’s four sophomore series are on the rise at the one-quarter mark of year two.

Leading the way are a pair of 8 o’clock crime dramas, Sunday’s “Cold Case” and Tuesday’s “NCIS,” which are both up 22% vs. last year in adults 18-49 through nine weeks this fall, according to Nielsen.

“Cold Case” has risen to a 3.9 rating from a 3.2 despite facing another rising star, ABC’s unscripted feel-good reality show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” And Mark Harmon starrer “NCIS” has gone to a 3.4 from a 2.8, regularly winning its hour in adults 25-54 and total viewers.

Also on the move for CBS is Monday laffer “Two and a Half Men,” whose 5.7 rating reps an 8% year-to-year rise, even as lead-in “Everybody Loves Raymond” has dipped by 6%.

In the same Monday hour, NBC’s “Las Vegas” is similarly impressive (up 2%, 4.8 vs. 4.6) despite an 18% dropoff for lead-in “Fear Factor.”

On the other end of the spectrum, you can largely blame the nets’ Friday woes this season on a pair of series — ABC’s “Hope & Faith” and CBS’ “Joan of Arcadia” — that opened big last season before fading by spring. When they kicked off their second seasons in September, neither was especially impressive.

Through nine weeks, “Hope” is off a troubling 26% (2.6 vs. 3.5) year-to-year while “Joan” has declined 21% (2.2 vs. 2.8). Both still challenge for their timeslot’s lead, though.

Fox’s “The OC” is down 10% year-to-year (3.5 vs. 3.9) but that’s understandable given its move to a tough Thursday-at-8 timeslot.

At the weblets, UPN has seen its comedies “All of Us” and “Eve” droop in their second seasons amid overall laffer leaks at the net.

The WB is faring very well, though, with its teen sudser “One Tree Hill,” which is the fastest year-to-year riser on any net — up 62% vs. last fall (2.2 vs. 1.3).

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