The Revenge of the Theater Kids

Rash Report: Singing and Dancing Win Over Viewers

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MINNEAPOLIS ( -- Remember all those theater kids in high school? They may have not been homecoming royalty, but they're sure becoming kings and queens of pop culture. TV viewers love the singers and the dancers these days.

'Glee' Credit: Fox
Indeed, the indignities of being at the bottom of the high-school social circle are a recurring theme of "Glee," Fox's hit that ironically may have finally made glee clubs cool. Viewers are certainly hip to it, as "Glee" hit a season high for its fall finale, belting out a 3.7/9 rating and share in the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic.

"Glee's" singers built on the dancers of "So You Think You Can Dance," which hoofed its way off the summer schedule into the fall and has become a steady, if not spectacular, performer for Fox. "Dance" delivered a 2.3/7, which was just a tenth of a ratings point below its season-to-date average. Fox finished in a second-place tie with ABC with an overall 3.0/8.

ABC had two specials for the night: The season's second showing of "Shrek the Halls" at 8 p.m. (2.6/8), as well as "Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2009." Her list was reflective of our interest in the theater gang grown up (or in the case of Michael Jackson's children, growing up), as Adam Lambert and Lady Gaga joined first lady Michele Obama, who was deemed the most fascinating.

But fewer viewers were fascinated than last year, as the 3.1/9 was down 26% from last year's special. It got beat by CBS's "CSI: NY" (3.2/9), a gritty police procedural that seems the content opposite of a glee club or dance contest. Its lead-in, "Criminal Minds," was also defeated (3.9/10) but both cop shows showed up its rivals by winning their time slots, as "Criminal Minds" beat ABC's comic combination of "Modern Family" (3.8/10) and "Cougar Town" (2.8/7), as well as NBC's "Law and Order: SVU" (2.3.6) and the CW's repeat of "The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show" (.7/2).

Rash gridsEnlarge
See how all the shows did in the ratings.

This helped CBS win the night overall with a 3.1/8. Indeed, the only hour CBS didn't win was from 8-9 p.m., as "The New Adventures of Old Christine" (2.2/6) and "Gary Unmarried" (2.3/6) lost not just to "Shrek," but ABC's "The Middle" (2.4/7).

NBC (1.8/5) finished fourth, as "The Jay Leno Show," losing the "Biggest Loser" lead-in it had the night before, shed 55% of its Tuesday night audience and posted a 1.3/4.

Oh, and as for the CW? You know, the network whose shows such as"Gossip Girl," "One Tree Hill" and "America's Next Top Model" seem to feature characters who probably were homecoming queens? It finished fifth with a .5.1 for the night.

Thursday: It's impossible not to watch NBC's "The Office" and "30 Rock" when they both have episodes called "Secret Santa."
Friday: OK, back to a holiday special for the kids: CBS debuts "Yes, Virginia."

With ABC in repeats, CBS and NBC to finish first and second.

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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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