"Worst Week" was up 14% from last week with a 3.2/7. But despite its improvement, it still lost nearly four in ten viewers from lead-in "Two and a Half Men," which itself jumped 8% to a 5.3/12. "Men's" lead in, "How I Met Your Mother," was 5% higher with a 4.4/11, while "CSI: Miami"(4.2/11) was fortunate to have 14% more watch than last Monday.
Ironically, the only CBS show to dip from last week was a series that continues to rise in critical and -- at least in most weeks --- commercial esteem: "The Big Bang Theory," which slipped a slight 3% to a 3.8/10.
ABC's second place overall rating of 3.3/8 was due to the network generally holding steady. "Dancing with the Stars" (4.3/11, up 2%) waltzed into "Samantha Who?" which dipped 3% from last week. Like timeslot sitcom rival "Worst Week," "Samantha" (2.8/7) loses significant portion of its lead in, and last night couldn't hang onto a third of its "Dancing" partners. The slide continued at 10 p.m., with "Boston Legal," down 5% to a 2.1/5.
NBC, despite being third with a 2.7/7, had all three series even or better than last week: Embattled "Chuck" was up 8% to a 2.6/7, "Heroes" was level with last week's 3.6/8, and recently canceled "My Own Worst Enemy" didn't lose any friends, as it was even with last week's 1.8/5.
Fox finished fourth with a 2.1/5, as "Terminator" (1.9/5) ended 5% below last week's 2.0/5 while "Prison Break" (2.2/5) was even.
And the CW, which has had success early in the season with its early-week schedule, had network TV's only real off night compared to last week, as demo declines of 7% for "Gossip Girl" (1.4/4) and 19% for "One Tree Hill" (1.3/3) reduced the ratings average to a fifth place 1.4/3.
But for the most part, nearly everything was up and good -- except for Rian Lindell's field goal attempt, that is. He missed a 47-yarder that would have put his Buffalo Bills ahead of the Cleveland Browns with 38 seconds left in a "Monday Night Football Thriller." Instead the Browns won by two points, 29-27.
ESPN just missed, too. But instead of two points, just .2 ratings points would have put last night's game ahead of last week's. The 4.5/12, however, was still good enough to be TV's second-highest-rated program last night.
WHAT TO WATCH:
Tuesday: While Fox will still win the night with "House," CBS has the hot hand with savvy navy drama "NCIS" and programming plebe "The Mentalist." Find out why, starting at 8 p.m.
Wednesday: With rumors swirling that ABC's "Pushing Daisies" may soon be, well, pushing daisies, it's time to catch up on the clever colorful drama, if just to see the candy coated, almost surreal sets.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
"The Mentalist" edged in front of Fox's "Fringe" in the battle of TV's top two rated new series last week. Could tonight's results reflect a trend?
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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.