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Ratings: ‘American Ninja Warrior’ Finale Up, ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Premiere Steady

ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” opened its 21st season with solid numbers on Monday, standing as the night’s top-rated series and virtually matching its year-ago deliveries. The night also saw a good finish to the season for NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” and a soft landing for Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance.”

ESPN was expected to win the night overall with its return of “Monday Night Football.” The opening game of the doubleheader (Philadelphia-Atlanta) averaged a 9.8 overnight household rating in the metered-market overnights, and the nightcap (Minnesota-San Francisco) pulled a 9.5.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “Dancing With the Stars” averaged a 2.3 rating/7 share in adults 18-49 and 13.6 million viewers overall from 8 to 10 p.m., down a tick in the demo and up slightly in total viewers vs. its opening-night performance a year ago, when it also launched a week before the start of the traditional television season. Last spring’s edition opened with a 2.1 in the demo and 14.2 million viewers. ABC capped its night with the special “DanceBattle America” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall).

ABC’s preliminary averages include a pre-emption for football in the Atlanta market, so the “Dancing” premiere ratings are subject to revision.

At NBC, “American Ninja Warrior” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 6.1 million viewers overall) was up 18% (0.3) week to week, placing second among the Big Four from 8 to 10 p.m. before moving to the lead at 10. “Warrior” was up 11% in 18-49 from last year’s finale and matched its 2012 season-ender as its top-rated to date, while its total-viewer count is the largest ever for a finale of the franchise.

Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” wrapped its lowest-rated season to date with a 0.8/3 in 18-49 and 2.4 million viewers overall, up a tick week to week in 18-49 and up a big 75% (0.3) in 18-34.

Originals of CW’s “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 1.5 million viewers overall), “Whose Line Is It Anyway” (0.3/1 in 18-49, 1.1 million viewers overall) and “Significant Mother” (0.2/0 in 18-49, 0.5 million viewers overall) all matched last week’s repeat scores.

CBS aired repeats of “The Big Bang Theory” (1.6/6 in 18-49, 7.1 million viewers overall), “The Odd Couple” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 5.0 million viewers overall), “Scorpion” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall) and “NCIS: Los Angeles” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall). Its averages are likely inflated due to pre-emptions for NFL action in San Francisco and Minneapolis.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 2.0/6; ABC, 1.9/6; CBS, 1.1/3; Fox, 0.8/3; CW, 0.4/1.

In total viewers: ABC, 10.9 million; NBC, 6.1 million; CBS, 5.5 million; Fox, 2.4 million; CW, 1.1 million,

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