'Two and a Half Men' Are Better Than a Gang of Peanuts

Rash Report: CBS Wins Monday Night Behind Comedy, While ABC Finishes Second

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MINNEAPOLIS (AdAge.com) -- On ABC, Charlie Brown found the true spirit of Christmas. But on CBS, a couple of blockheads -- the Harper brothers (Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer) on "Two and a Half Men" -- found the most viewers of the night.

The Harper brothers helped CBS find the most viewers of the night.
The Harper brothers helped CBS find the most viewers of the night. Credit: CBS
The duo helped the Eye network win the evening with a 4.1/10 rating and share in the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic. ABC was second with a 2.8/7, followed by NBC (2.5/7), Fox (2.0/5) and the CW (1.2/3).

'Worst Week' improves
"Two and a Half Men" took the night with a 5.2/13, while lead-in "How I Met Your Mother" (4.2/11) is also working well, as it rose 2% from its season average. "The Big Bang Theory" (3.7/10), which kicks off the sitcom lineup at 8 p.m., delivered at average levels. At 9:30 p.m. "Worst Week Ever" (3.4/8) loses a third of "Men's" adults. But "Worst Week" had its best week since its September premiere, as it was up 10% from normal levels.

At 10 p.m., "CSI: Miami" (4.1/11) matched regular ratings and easily won over NBC's "My Own Worst Enemy" (1.5/4) and the second hour of the series finale of ABC's "Boston Legal" (2.3/6), which ended with a whimper compared to the bang it created when the show started as "The Practice" in 1997. Last night's final episode only rose 10% from its already low level.

NBC, which made prime-time news with late-night host Jay Leno, is probably already looking forward to when his show can replace 10 p.m. dramas such as "My Own Worst Enemy." But it has some struggles at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on many nights as well, including Monday. Hit "Heroes" is missing the media momentum it never got back after being struck by the writers strike. It was 12% off its season average to a 3.6/9. And "Chuck" (2.4/6) is unlikely to ever develop any buzz on its own in a tough timeslot.

Fox's Monday-night schedule didn't fare much better either, as "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" (1.9/5) and "Prison Break" (2.1/5) were down 10% and 9%, respectively.

Hooked on 'Gossip'
The Upper East Siders on the CW's "Gossip Girl" did well, at least for its desired demographic of young women. In adults 18-49 the show does well, too, as the 1.5/4 was within striking distance of Fox. But lead-out "Privileged" lost about a third of those gossiping, but held at its season level of 1.0/2.

As for "A Charlie Brown Christmas," like some of the retailers who depend on Christmas specials to inspire higher store traffic, it faced its own tough numbers, as the 3.7/10 was down 20% from last year's showing.

But that's OK. As Linus himself would instruct, the meaning of Christmas isn't about commercialism. And culturally, the secular and spiritual celebration in "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is as rich as ever.

WHAT TO WATCH
Tuesday: Samuel L. Jackson, one of the most ubiquitous actors of his generation, is the focus of TCM's "American Cinematheque Tribute."
Wednesday: While no show may say Christmas like the classic "Peanuts" special, there is always room for something new: "Little Spirit: Christmas in New York" runs on NBC.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Who will win the latest head-to-head between "The Mentalist" and "Fringe," the season's only two new hits?

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NOTE: All ratings based on adults 18-49. A share is a percentage of adults 18-49 who have their TV sets on at a given time. A rating is a percentage of all adults 18-49, whether or not their sets are turned on. For example, a 1.0 rating is 1% of the total U.S. adults 18-49 population with TVs. Ratings quoted in this column are based on live-plus-same-day unless otherwise noted. (Many ad deals have been negotiated on the basis of commercial-minute, live-plus-three-days viewing.)

John Rash is senior VP-director of media analysis for Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis. For more, see rashreport.com.

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