Instead, it was the depths of summertime prime time, as Tiger was replaced by "The Mole" on ABC, the National Basketball Association by "American Gladiators" on NBC and the live electricity of Broadway with reruns on Fox, the CW and CBS.
And Monday wasn't only a creative downer, but a commercial one, too, as the combined 8.7/26 rating and share in the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic was 14% lower than Sunday.
Fittingly, two reruns on Fox won the night, as "Bones" and "House" delivered a 2.1/7 and 2.8/8, respectively, to combine for an overall 2.5/7. CBS's repeats were close behind, finishing with a 2.2/7, as sitcoms "The Big Bang Theory" (1.9/6), "How I Met Your Mother" (2.1/7), "Two and a Half Men" (2.7/8) and "Rules of Engagement" (2.3/6) led into "CSI: Miami," which won its timeslot with a 2.1/6.
The CW's reruns repeated their usual fifth-place finish, as "Gossip Girl" and "One Tree Hill" each resulted in a .4/1, which was the average for the night.
To their credit, ABC and NBC each ran original programming -- although it's hard to call much of it novel: "The Mole" (1.5/4) has resurfaced after burrowing for four years, and ABC's "Bachelor/Bachelorette" franchise has been serial-dating since 2002. Last night had two installments -- "The Bachelorette: DeAnna Tells All" (1.8/6) and "The Bachelorette" (2.5/7) -- which, when combined with "The Mole," gave ABC a third-place 1.9/6.
'Nashville Star' dims
And fourth-place NBC (1.7/5) ran "American Gladiators" (1.9/6) and "Dateline" (1.4/4), which both date back to the first Bush administration. Scheduled in-between was one of America's favored music formats, but the popularity of country music on radio dials didn't transfer to television, as "Nashville Star" delivered a 1.8/5, down 18% from last week's premiere.
Tuesday night's TV may chase away the network's Monday blues, as CBS offers classic movie scenes ranked by the American Film Institute and two classic teams, the Celtics and the Lakers, continue the NBA Finals.
The Lakers might beat the Celtics in Boston to set up a Game Seven on Thursday. But soon after, at least up until the Beijing Olympics, Sunday's exceptional prime time could be just that -- an exception -- as repeats and reality rule.
WHAT TO WATCH:
Tuesday: Two numbers to remember: Six and 10, as Game Six of the NBA Finals on ABC competes against CBS's latest American Film Institute summer special, "AFI's 10 Top 10."
Wednesday: The falling dollar may make that summer dream trip to Tuscany impossible, so escape to Italy with Turner Classic Movies' monthlong tribute to Sophia Loren.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Up against some of the world's best athletes and artists on ABC's Game Six of the NBA Finals and CBS's "AFI 10 Top 10," it's a challenging night to premiere "America's Got Talent," NBC's "Let's put on a show!" talent search. Accordingly, a ratings reduction from last summer's debut is likely.
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NOTE: A share is a percentage of TV households that have their TV sets on at a given time. A rating is a percentage of all TV households, whether or not their sets are turned on. For example, a 1.0 rating is 1% of the total U.S. households 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.