'House' Returns; ABC Comedies Drop

TVWeek's James Hibberd: Rated

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Fox's "House" returned Tuesday night as strong as ever, putting pressure on competitors in the 9 p.m. hour with a rating that nearly matched its season premiere. ABC's freshman comedies "Cavemen" and "Carpoolers," along with CBS's "Cane," continued to suffer defections.
Winning the night, Fox had "Bones" (an on-par 3.1 rating among adults 18 to 49 in the preliminary Nielsens) and "House" (7.6, up a couple notches from its last airing Oct. 9).

NBC was second with "Singing Bee" (an average 2.3) and a 90-minute "The Biggest Loser" (a 3.0, up slightly from last week's hour-long episode) and "Law & Order: SVU" (down a tick, but winning the 10 p.m. hour with a 4.7).

In third place, ABC's "Cavemen" (2.2, down 21 percent) and "Carpoolers" (2.4, down 11 percent) endured ratings declines.

"Carpoolers" has been an ABC dark horse this season, surprising observers by keeping pace, and sometimes slightly outperforming, the heavily hyped "Cavemen." Yesterday ABC ordered a few more "Carpoolers" scripts, demonstrating some interest in keeping the show around. But the "Carpoolers" rating has been padlocked to its lead-in, and it's unclear if the show has its own following or simply represents "Cavemen" viewers waiting around for "Dancing With the Stars" (an even 4.4). At 10 p.m., ABC had a "20/20" special (2.8).

CBS was fourth, winning the 8 p.m. hour with "NCIS" (dropping 10 percent from last week's bump to a 3.7) and "The Unit" (slumping 14 percent to a 3.0 now that the show has a full season order). At 10 p.m., "Cane" continues to drop each week (down 9 percent to a 2.0).

The CW's "Beauty and the Geek" was down slightly (1.6), while "Reaper" lost last week's bump to return to its prior average (1.2), but maintained last week's gain in The CW's 18 to 34 demo (1.7).