Promising Start For ABC's "Cavemen"

TVWeek's James Hibberd: Rated

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The debut of ABC's much-discussed "Cavemen" sitcom got off to a stronger-than-expected start last night, tying to win its time period and providing a solid lead-in for fellow freshman debut "Carpoolers."

"Cavemen," which was not screened for critics, earned a 3.3 rating among adults 18 to 49 in the preliminary Nielsens, matching the first half of CBS' "NCIS."

Though "Cavemen" likely will get the headlines, in the halls of ABC the real shock is the performance of "Carpoolers," a series with weak buzz that improved on "Cavemen" with an even better 3.4. The comedies led into "Dancing With the Stars" (4.3) and a resurgent "Boston Legal" (3.1).

ABC came in second place behind Fox, which had "Bones" (2.9) and "House" (7.1), slipping 13 percent and 9 percent, respectively, from last week's premieres.

NBC was third with the season premiere of "The Singing Bee" (a series-low 2.3), "The Biggest Loser" (up 10 percent to a 3.3) and "Law & Order: SVU" (an on-par 4.5).

CBS was fourth with "NCIS" (3.6) and "The Unit" (3.2) building from last week's premieres (by 13 percent and 14 percent, respectively), while freshman series "Cane" (2.5) slipped 17 percent (just don't tell "Jericho" fans).

The CW's "Beauty and the Geek" (1.3) and "Reaper" (1.3) each fell 13 percent from last week.
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