CBS Wins Monday Night; Followed by ABC

Rash Report: 'Two and Half Men' and 'Dancing With the Stars' Lead

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MINNEAPOLIS ( -- Modern media, moving at lightning speed, is ever-changing. Modern audiences, however, move at their own pace. They may be on the brink of using tomorrow's technology, but they're still watching yesterday's stories.
'Two and a Half Men'
'Two and a Half Men' Credit: CBS

CBS's "Two and a Half Men," for instance, is a straight narrative sitcom, as opposed to single-camera, no-laugh-track sitcoms that often win awards but lose viewers. It was the most-watched show on network TV last night, delivering a 5.1/12 rating and share in the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic.

'Dancing' craze continues
The winner in the first hour of prime time came from a relatively new genre -- reality TV -- but reflects the age-old romance of dancing combined with the age-old fear of not being very good at it. ABC has figured out this two-step of new genres and old behavior well, and its "Dancing With the Stars" delivered a 4.1/10, which was 3% above last week's level.

Splitting the timeslot win with "Two and a Half Men" were the men and women with special powers of "Heroes," NBC's new-age way of telling an age-old comic-book story. Last night's chapter delivered a 3.9/9, which is a season low for the slowing franchise.

CBS's "CSI" franchise has also slowed a bit after several years on air. But the 21st-century science combined with the timeless quest for justice was still potent enough to deliver a 3.8/10 and help CBS win the night with an overall 3.9/10. Earlier, CBS sitcoms "The Big Bang Theory" (3.5/9), "How I Met Your Mother" (4.0/10) and "Worst Week" (3.2/7) all performed around season-to-date levels.

ABC was second with a 3.2/8, as "Dancing" led into "Samantha Who?" (2.7/6, down 10% from last week's weak return to the schedule) and "Boston Legal," which matched last week's 2.1/5.

'Enemy' loses viewers
NBC's third-place 3.0/7 was due to "Heroes" being bookended by a 2.6/7 for lead-in "Chuck" and a 2.5/6 for lead-out "My Own Worst Enemy," which fell 17% from its program premiere last week.

Fox finished fourth with a 2.1/5, as "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" (2.0/5) led into "Prison Break" (2.2/5).

And the CW's fifth-place finish consisted of "Gossip Girl" (1.4/4) and "One Tree Hill" (1.9/4).

Of course, no genre mixes the old and the new like NFL football, as fans watch the elemental -- and at times, brutal -- sport on high-tech, high-cost plasma and LCD screens. Last night the juxtaposition scored again, as ESPN's "Monday Night Football" game, in which the New England Patriots pasted the Denver Broncos 41-7, notched a 4.4/12, beating all but "Two and a Half Men" (and those guys were probably watching, too).

Tuesday: TCM runs an original documentary on the gangster genre with "Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film."
Wednesday: Take a break from the series of serious crises the world faces for the World Series, which starts on Fox.

There are no small markets if you get to the big games at the end of a half-year baseball season. But how much will Fox miss "Red Sox nation" when the national ratings for the Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies come in?

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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
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