CBS rolled to victory on Wednesday’s opening of the season thanks to its returning crime dramas, but it was a quiet night for new skeins.
NBC’s new version of “Knight Rider” was slow out of the starting blocks, and CBS comedy “Gary Unmarried” didn’t do much as part of the net’s new comedy combo on the night. Relative to the opening two nights of the season, Wednesday was sluggish overall for the broadcasters, although ABC’s lineup doesn’t roll out until next week.
According to Nielsen “live plus same-day” estimates, “Knight Rider” settled for a 2.5 rating/7 share in adults 18-49 and 7.35 million viewers in the 8 o’clock hour. Remake of the 1980s David Hasselhoff skein ran third in its 8 p.m. timeslot and in line with what “Deal or No Deal” delivered in the hour a year ago.
It did OK in some male demos, but its 18-49 rating was exactly half of the promising result generated by the show’s backdoor pilot, which aired as a two-hour movie on NBC in February.
At CBS, “Gary Unmarried,” starring Jay Mohr as a divorced dad, averaged a 2.4/7 in 18-49 and 6.82 million viewers overall. Though it placed fourth, it didn’t get any help from its soft lead-in, the timeslot debut of “The New Adventures of Old Christine” (2.1/6, 6.52m), which was kicking off its fourth season.
A positive for “Gary” was that it built by 14% in 18-49 rating and by 1 share over its lead-in.
The Eye fared much better the rest of the night with the preems of “Criminal Minds” (4.7/12 in 18-49, 17.01m) and “CSI: NY” (4.0/11, 14.59m), both of which started 15 minutes late in much of the country due to President Bush’s address on the economy. Year to year, “Minds” was up 34% in 18-49 (from 3.5/9), and “CSI: NY” gained 8% (from 3.7/10).
A big factor in the gains for “Criminal Minds” was that it was the only firstrun drama on the broadcast nets; a year ago it opposed the strong preems of NBC’s “Bionic Woman” and ABC’s “Private Practice” as well as CW’s second seg of “Gossip Girl.”
Elsewhere, at NBC, following a shortened version of “America’s Got Talent” (2.7/7 in 18-49, 10.30m from 9:15-10 p.m.), returning drama “Lipstick Jungle” (2.4/6, 6.25m) ran third in the 10 o’clock hour. “Jungle” did spike in its second half-hour, likely picking up viewers after CBS’ “Criminal Minds” ended.
At ABC, a special Wednesday hourlong results show edition of “Dancing With the Stars” won in most categories at 8 o’clock (3.6/10 in 18-49, 15.87m), but the net didn’t do much later in the evening with the two-hour David Blaine special “Dive of Death” (2.6/7, 7.13m). It was down sharply vs. the daredevil’s most recent spec in May 2006 (4.2/11 in 18-49).
ABC’s all-sophomore lineup of dramas — “Pushing Daisies,” “Private Practice” and “Dirty Sexy Money” — debuts next week.
Fox was a solid second from 8 to 9 p.m. with “Bones” (3.1/9 in 18-49, 9.73m) but then dropped off sharply following the Bush address with half-hours ” ’Til Death” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 3.72m) and “Do Not Disturb” (1.3/3, 3.59m), which were both down from their week-earlier preems.
CW’s “America’s Next Top Model” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 4.13m) was competitive as usual at 8 p.m., matching its week-ago score despite tougher competish. It placed a close second to “Bones” in 18-34 (2.5/8).
For the night, the five broadcasters saw their collective 18-49 average tumble 20% vs. the opening Wednesday of last season (12.8 vs. 16.0).