'House' Leads Fox to First

Rash Report: ABC Second With Season High for 'Bachelor'

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MINNEAPOLIS (AdAge.com) -- OK, so it wasn't the network record-breaking rating for the Vikings vs. Saints. And far from saintly, Dr. Gregory House is more anti-hero, a medical malcontent, as opposed to the gridiron heroes on Sunday night. But Fox continued its winning ways, as "House" won in households and just about every other demo, including the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic, in which it delivered its best rating since early November.

'House'
'House' Credit: Fox
Averaging a 5.2/13 rating and share, "House" combined with "24" (down just a tenth of a ratings point from last week's premiere to a 3.4/8) to win the night for Fox with an overall 4.3/11.

Of course, Fox was helped by Monday's usual ratings winner, CBS, running reruns of its sitcom block ("How I Met Your Mother," 2.1/6; "Accidentally on Purpose," 1.9/5; "Two and a Half Men," 3.8/9; "Big Bang Theory," 4.0/10) and drama "CSI: Miami" (2.6/7).

Overall CBS finished third with a 2.8/7, which isn't surprising, giving the second showings. But it shows the weakness of NBC that despite running original episodes of "Chuck" (2.5/7), "Heroes" (1.9/5) and "The Jay Leno Show" (1.2/3), it still finished fourth with a 1.9/5.

The CW finished fifth with a 1.1/3, which is the same rating as week two of "Life Unexpected," which could be expected to fall from its well-marketed series premiere last week. But it was only a tenth of a ratings point, and it held all of its "One Tree Hill" (1.1/3) lead-in, suggesting that by its standards, the CW has a keeper.

Whether the bachelor is a keeper, or will end up as yet another ill-fated reality romance remains to be seen. But "The Bachelor" sure is, as it, too, benefited from CBS taking the night off, hooking up with a season-high 3.9/10.

"The Bachelor" has risen every week since its season premiere, which helped "Castle" matched its series high with a 3.1/8, which won the 10 p.m. timeslot. Overall ABC was second with a 3.6/9.

But in the end it was Fox, which now gets the benefit of two nights of "American Idol" to try to extend its winning streak.

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

WHAT TO WATCH:
Tuesday: Maybe before Wednesday's State of the Union Address the president and Congress should watch PBS's "Frontline" investigation "The Card Game," which examines the consumer loan industry and its impact on the national economy. It may be a repeat from November, but in order not to repeat the mess we're in, it may be worth a second look.
Wednesday: The best reality show, drama (and occasional comedy) on TV will be the State of the Union speech.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
The hype over the last "Lost" season premiere even became a political issue, as the State of the Union speech was slated to preempt it. ABC tries to tap into the interest by running the season finale from last year, but it's unlikely such a complex story will catch any new viewers.

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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.

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