‘Numbers’ adds up to early lead vs. ‘Trial’

'Jury' fails to make case

NBC’s “Law & Order: Trial by Jury” took a step back in its second outing, falling behind CBS rookie “Numbers” in their first head-to-head matchup.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, “Numbers” (3.5/10 in adults 18-49, 11.6 million viewers overall) topped “Trial by Jury” (3.0/9 in adults 18-49, 10.8 million viewers) in most key categories, with the Peacock entry prevailing only in a couple of female demos.

ABC’s “20/20” was a competitive third for the hour (prelim 2.8/8 in 18-49, 8.1 million).

This is the best result for “Numbers” since its Friday premiere on Jan. 28. CBS effectively promoted the Rob Morrow-David Krumholtz crime skein during its powerhouse Thursday lineup, which dominated every half-hour last week.

Also for CBS, with virtually no promotion, “JAG” moved up to second at 9 o’clock with its best results of the season (prelim 2.4/7 in 18-49, 10.4 million viewers). It lagged only a special “Law & Order: SVU” repeat on NBC (prelim 3.2/9 in 18-49, 10.8m).

For NBC, “Trial by Jury” declined by 27% from its time-period bow of a week earlier. This is believed to be the lowest 18-49 score for a regular, firstrun seg of the “Law & Order” franchise, which now has four programs on the Peacock.

News was better for NBC on Thursday, where the second of two preview episodes of boxing series “The Contender” enjoyed solid sampling at 10 (4.7/12 in 18-49, 8.95m) behind “The Apprentice” (6.7/16 in 18-49, 14.11m).

Both placed second, to CBS crime series “Without a Trace” (7.6/20 in 18-49, 23.32m) and “CSI” (10.4/25 in 18-59, 29.40m), respectively. This was the second best 18-49 score to date for the third-year “Trace.”

“Contender” slid into its regular Sunday at 8 slot last night. One show it won’t be facing in that time period is the WB’s struggling unscripted series “The Starlet,” which bombed in its Sunday bow last week.

Instead, “Charmed” returns to the 8 o’clock hour on Sundays, while “Starlet” shifts to Tuesdays at 9.

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