The two constellations seem to be in different galaxies, as it's hard to imagine "Dancing" contestant Kim Kardashian winning an Emmy. But then again, it's hard to picture Paul Giamatti, who won an Emmy playing John Adams, cutting the rug or cutting it with "Dancing" viewers, as the show has found a formula of showing accessible stars feeling as vulnerable as viewers do when they have to dance in public.
Monday night wasn't without a red carpet, however, as "Heroes: Countdown to the Premiere" was a big-screen-like photo op on the small screen before the two-hour season premiere. It delivered a 2.6/7, followed by a 5.0/12 for the season-three premiere of "Heroes." While certainly competitive -- particularly running against a show with similar guy appeal, ESPN's "Monday Night Football," which was more competitive than the Jets with a 5.0/13 -- "Heroes" wasn't so super, falling about a third from last year's premiere. For the night, NBC finished third with an overall 4.3/10.
CBS on top
The night's Nielsen winner was actually CBS (4.5/11), mostly due to a more traditional hero (or anti-hero, considering his not-by-the-book style of law enforcement), Horatio Crane of "CSI: Miami." The cop caper returned from a spring cliffhanger, delivering a 5.2/13 at 10 p.m., eclipsing "Heroes" and more than doubling ABC's "Boston Legal" (2.4/6), which lost more than half of "Dancing's" partners. For the night, ABC was second with a 4.4/11.
The CBS sitcom lineup was all first-run as well, with the series premiere of "Worst Week" (3.8/8) relatively consistent with 8 p.m. comedies "The Big Bang Theory" (3.6/10) and "How I Met Your Mother" (4.0/10) but down considerably from lead-in "Two and a Half Men" (5.2/12). "Mother" and "Men" were up 21% and 10%, respectively, and "CSI: Miami" added 13% more viewers to last year's premiere, giving CBS a solid start on the night -- and the season.
Fox is already on track this season, with "House" and "Bones" joining new show "Fringe" in last week's top-ten list. And despite the tougher competition, tough guy (and gal) shows "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" (2.3/6) and "Prison Break" (2.5/6) were both slightly up from last week. But Fox finished fourth overall, with a 2.4/6.
The CW (fifth, 1.6/4) has also started well with its female-focused fall lineup, including the sophomore season for "Gossip Girl," which delivered a 1.6/4, just slightly above lead-out "One Tree Hill" (1.5/3). But both were down 10% from recent averages, as perhaps a few fans in the CW's desired demographic were star-struck and snuck away to watch the "Heroes'" red carpet or "Dancing with the Stars."
WHAT TO WATCH:
Tuesday: More returning series, including NBC's "Law and Order: SVU" and CBS's "NCIS" and "Without a Trace," join the program premieres of ABC's "Opportunity Knocks" and CBS's "The Mentalist."
Wednesday: And yet more: CBS's program premiere of "Gary Unmarried," as well as new episodes of "The New Adventures of Old Christine," "Criminal Minds" and "CSI: NY." NBC counters with the series premiere (at least for this decade) of 80s remake "Knight Rider" and the very current "Lipstick Jungle."
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
After last night's win, perhaps no show is as mainstream as "Dancing with the Stars." Will it make Fox's "Fringe," well, fringe?
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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.