MINNEAPOLIS (AdAge.com) -- Monday's primetime ratings race came down to original episodes beating a repeat of a ReRun. That's ReRun Van Pelt, the little brother of Lucy and Linus, who is the focus of "I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown," the 2003 holiday special that hasn't quite matched the iconic status (let alone the ratings) of 1965's "A Charlie Brown Christmas."
It was, however, the highest-rated show on ABC last night, despite being down 19% from last year, delivering a 2.1/6 rating and share in the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic. This more than doubled the .9/2 for a two hour "20/20," as ABC averaged an overall 1.3/3.
CBS finished first with a 4.3/11, winning every half hour but one with original episodes of original comedies from 8-10 p.m., including "The Big Bang Theory" (4.1/11) and "How I Met Your Mother" (4.6/11), which both hit series highs. "Two and a Half Men" (5.6/13) had a season high and "Worst Week Ever" (3.6/8) had its best week since its September program premiere. Lead-out 10 p.m. drama "CSI: Miami" easily won with a 3.9/10, which was a slight slippage of 5% from its season to date average.
No longer TV "Heroes"
NBC's second place 2.6/7 also featured original episodes, but it appears the novelty has worn off for "Heroes," the comic book sci-fi series whose cultural kryptonite has been apparent in this season's ratings. Maybe things will turn around when "Heroes" begins a new story arc next year, which like all comic cliffhangers, would be just in the nick of time, as the midseason finale was 10% below its season average, delivering a 3.7/9. "Heroes'" sidekick "Chuck" (2.6/7) was about even with recent levels, while "My Own Worst Enemy" (1.6/4) was off 20% as it slouches towards cancellation.
Fox originally had high hopes that "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" would break out like "Heroes" did but it, too, has lost media momentum. So despite also running a midseason finale of its own, it only finished fourth in the 8 p.m. hour with a 1.9/5, which was 10% below its season level. Lead-out "Prison Break" (2.1/5) couldn't break out of its series slump either, as it lost 9% of its regular ratings. For the night, Fox finished fourth with an overall 2.0/5.
As for the CW's desired demographic of young women, whose pop culture palate sets the media menu for so much of society? They apparently value original episodes (if not originality) more than most, as reruns of "Gossip Girl" (.7/2) and "One Tree Hill" (.5/1) were off 56% and 69%, respectively. For the night the network finished fifth with an overall .6/1.
Indeed, while it may not be as cool as buzzing about a new "Gossip Girl" in the hallway, some of them might admit to being a tween again by watching ReRun in "I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown." Or some might even cop to sitting on the couch with their folks laughing at the CBS sitcoms.
(Don't worry. Your secret's safe with us. Just tell 'em it was holiday family time ...)
WHAT TO WATCH:
Tuesday: In the battle for TV's two new hits, CBS has the advantage, as it will run an original episode of "The Mentalist," while Fox's "Fringe" is a repeat.
Wednesday: Give NBC credit for trying to tinker with holiday tradition by running new Christmas specials. OK, so "Little Spirit: Christmas in New York" and "Greatest Holiday Moments" didn't work out so well. But they didn't have the Muppets! Wednesday's new special does, as "A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa" has its program premiere.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Will viewers of NBC's "Biggest Losers: Families" stay tuned for the family fun on "Momma's Boys," the new reality dating show that pits moms against their sons' suitors?
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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.