‘House’ hot, ABC laffers not

Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

Fox’s “House” delivered its best numbers of fall on Tuesday, overpowering ABC’s comedy block of “Big Day” and “Help Me Help You,” according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen. The CW also enjoyed its best Tuesday to date.

In the 9 o’clock hour, “House” (6.8 rating/17 share in adults 18-49, 17.2 million viewers overall) logged its best ratings since its pre-season bow in early September, and its season average now stands at more than 30% higher than a year ago. The medical mystery series nearly tripled its lead-in from “Standoff” (2.3/6 in 18-49, 5.8 million viewers overall).

ABC opened the night well with its annual airing of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (first-place 4.8/13 in 18-49, 13.0 million viewers overall) but then sunk to fourth with the premiere of comedy “Big Day” (2.8/7 in 18-49, 7.6 million viewers overall) and the return of fellow rookie laffer “Help Me Help You” at 9:30 (1.8/4 in 18-49, 5.0 million viewers overall). “Boston Legal” then picked up at 10 o’clock for a second-place finish (3.0/8 in 18-49, 9.8 million viewers overall).

At CBS, “NCIS” (4.1/11 in 18-49, 17.9 million viewers overall) placed second in 18-49 and first in both adults 25-54 and total viewers, drawing its largest overall aud of the season. “The Unit” ran second at 9 (3.4/9 in 18-49, 12.5 million viewers overall) but the net’s rookie drama “3 Lbs.” slipped again week to week to finish third (2.4/6 in 18-49, 7.9 million viewers overall).

NBC ranked third from 8 to 10 with “Friday Night Lights” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 6.2 million viewers overall) and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (3.1/8 in 18-49, 9.7 million viewers overall) before ascending to its usual leadership position at 10 with “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (5.2/14 in 18-49, 14.6 million viewers overall).

The CW’s “Gilmore Girls” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 4.8 million viewers overall) and “Veronica Mars” (1.6/4 in 18-49, 3.5 million viewers overall) logged the net’s best Tuesday to date, combining for a 2.0/6 in adults 18-34. “Veronica,” which had aired on UPN in its first two seasons, matched or set series highs in all key categories.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 4.6/12; NBC, 3.6/9; ABC, 3.4/9; CBS, 3.3/9; CW, 1.9/5; Univision, 1.6/4.

In total viewers: CBS, 12.8 million; Fox, 11.5 million; NBC, 10.2 million; ABC, 9.7 million; CW, 4.2 million; Univision, 3.7 million.

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