Tuesday Night Dance-Off Leaves CBS On Top

Rash Report: ABC, Fox Go Toe to Toe but Still Don't Top 'NCIS'

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MINNEAPOLIS (AdAge.com) -- CBS won the Tuesday ratings war again. But perhaps it was the smaller skirmishes between shows on rival networks that was more interesting.

Representative Tom DeLay is now out of the 'Dancing with the Stars' competition.
Representative Tom DeLay is now out of the 'Dancing with the Stars' competition. Credit: ABC
Two shows about dancing, for instance, had different demographic trajectories with ad-centric adults 18-49. Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance" -- the younger, hipper dance party -- came within one-tenth of a ratings point of tying ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," which generated the genre. Fox's version delivered a 2.5/6 rating and share, which was up 4% from last week, compared with a 2.6/7 for ABC's "Stars," which may have dated itself by being represented by Representative Tom DeLay, who is now out of the competition.

And two shows that seem to surmise America's collective binge/purge approach to food has the dieters winning -- if not in reality, than in reality shows. NBC's "The Biggest Loser" matched last week's 3.7/9, beating out Fox's "Hell's Kitchen" (3.3/9), which was up 6% from last week.

"Loser" won over CBS's "NCIS: Los Angeles" for the first time, as the new drama has settled down to a 3.6/9, which while still strong is 81% of its stellar start two weeks ago.

But CBS still landed on top with an overall 3.6/10, as "NCIS: Los Angeles" lead-in "NCIS" won at 8 p.m. with a 4.3/12, which is 10% less than last week, and 10 p.m. drama "The Good Wife" lost 9% to a timeslot-winning 2.9/8.

NBC (3.2/9) was second, as was "The Jay Leno Show" (2.1/6), which jumped 40% from Monday night (although was off a tenth of a ratings point from last week). Fox was third with a 2.9/8. ABC (2.0/5) finished fourth, as "Dancing" lead-in "Shark Tank" settled in at last week's 1.5/4 and at 10 p.m. "The Forgotten" (1.9/5, down a tenth) seems to be just that compared to the more critically acclaimed and commercially successful "The Good Wife."

And on the fifth-place CW (1.0/3), the competition is intra-mural, as "90210" (1.2/3) seems to have evoked more nostalgia than its 90's series sibling, "Melrose Place" (.9/2).

Of course, none of these ratings results account for what was TV's most meaningful match-up last night, the one-game playoff to crown the winner of the American League Central Division. For the second time in less than 24 hours the national sports scene was focused on Minnesota, as the hometown Twins and the Detroit Tigers battled in a baseball classic, which ended with the Twins winning in 12 innings. Demo data is delayed because the game started before prime-time, but despite the earlier beginning, overnight household ratings supplied by TBS indicate a 67% jump to a 4.5 from last year's 2.7 for a one game playoff between the Twins and their other intra-division rival, the Chicago White Sox.

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

So while it won't come close to the all-time cable-ratings record for the Minnesota Vikings-Green Bay Packers "Monday Night Football" game the night before, at least in households the Minny-Motown showdown would have beat half of the shows on broadcast last night.

WHAT TO WATCH:
Wednesday: Play ball! The Major League Baseball playoffs begin, with divisional series seen on TBS.
Thursday: Even cynical, snarky shows like NBC's "The Office" need their sweet moments. Or at least as close as it will get on the sitcom, as Jim and Pam get married on a one-hour episode.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Big baseball markets New York, Boston and Los Angeles (for two teams) are represented, as well as World Series Champion Philadelphia and perennial threat St. Louis. And the mid-market Minnesota Twins and Colorado Rockies are good stories, too, so playoff ratings should be strong.

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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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