Viewers Discover 'Samantha Who?'

TVWeek's James Hibberd: Rated

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The premiere of ABC's "Samantha Who?" overcame mixed reviews and a clunky title to become the highest-rated freshman comedy debut of the fall.

Given a strong "Dancing With the Stars" lead-in (4.6 preliminary rating among adults 18 to 49), "Samantha" garnered a 4.5 rating. That number contains two minutes of "Dancing" overrun, but the show should remain highest-rated among the new comedies once adjusted in the nationals. Among total viewers, "Samantha" was the most-watched premiere of any comedy this fall.

ABC won the night with "Dancing," "Samantha" and "The Bachelor" (up from last week to a 3.2). CBS was a very close second. Its comedy block was on par with the exception of freshman comedy "Big Bang Theory" (3.2), whose ratings are trending closer to lead-in "How I Met Your Mother" (3.1) than lead-out "Two and a Half Men" (4.8). CBS's lineup continued with "Rules of Engagement" (4.0) and "CSI: Miami" (4.7).

NBC was third, with "Chuck" bouncing a surprising 18 percent to a 3.2 rating. "Heroes" maintained last week's series-low (5.1) and "Journeyman" was likewise on par (2.9). Fox's presentation of the baseball's ALCS Game 3, Boston Red Sox at Cleveland Indians, drew a preliminary 3.0 to land the network in fourth place.

The CW's comedy block was about average, though "Aliens in America" gained a much-needed 12 percent bump to a 0.9 rating, while "The Game" continues to top the lineup with a 1.1.
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