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Antena 3 senses new comedy hit

'Manolo & Benito' draws 25.8% share and 4.5 million viewers in Spain

Two daffy workers have given new hope to ratings-challenged Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 TV.

Aired in primetime on Christmas Day, the first episode of comedy series “Manolo & Benito Corporeision” drew an impressive 25.8% share and 4.5 million viewers.

“Corporeision” also smashed Telecinco’s 41-week ratings winning streak on Mondays, driven by its “CSI” franchise.

Battered by “Corporeision,” “CSI: Miami” lost a massive 7.4 share points from 10-11 p.m. and ended up an also-ran– unusual for “CSI” in Spain –notching a below-channel-average of 19.0%.

A sequel to hit Spanish series “Manos a la obra,” “Corporeision” is a direct descendant of popular Spanish film comedies of the 1960s that mocked (but ultimately endorsed) Spaniards’ inability to adapt to rampant modernization.

Premiere-week figures can be misleading. And at Christmas, family-skewed channel Antena 3 TV draws larger auds than during school. So the jury’s still out on whether “Corporeision” has the makings of a long-running hit.

Commercial broadcaster Antena 3 could do with a water-cooler hit.

Through Dec. 25, Antena 3’s audience share for the month was 18.2%. That trails both Telecinco (20.5%) and pubcaster TVE (19.0%). Just a year ago, Antena 3 was duking it with Telecinco as Spain’s top-rated web.

“Antena 3 management has insisted its results will improve. The market has factored in a ratings rise. But it now has to see it,” said one analyst.

“Corporeision” mimics how less educated Spaniards pronounce “Corporation.”