'Shrek the Halls' Decks Competition

TVWeek's James Hibberd: Rated

By Published on .

Every once in a while there's a rating that makes you do a double spit-take of green tea onto your monitor.

That's the case with ABC's debut last night of the half-hour special "Shrek the Halls," which earned a 7.2 preliminary Nielsen rating among adults 18 to 49. That beat the combined deliveries of CBS, NBC and Fox in the half-hour by 22%.

"Shrek" gave a huge lead-in to the annual airing of "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas," which was up 74% from its airing last year. The ratings dropped after that, however, with a special 9 p.m. airing of "Pushing Daisies" that nonetheless managed its best number since the show's debut (3.8). "Dirty Sexy Money" was on par (2.6).

In second place for the night, CBS had "Kid Nation" (a low 2.1), "Criminal Minds" (4.5, the best rating for "Minds" since its post-Super Bowl episode in February) and "CSI: NY" (4.1, matching its season high).

Fox was third with a pair of "Til Death" episodes (2.2 and 2.4) followed by a season-high "Kitchen Nightmares" (3.3).

NBC was fourth with its annual "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" (2.0, down 23% from last year), "Bionic Woman" (2.2, another season low) and "Life" (2.2, its second lowest rating to date).

The CW's "America's Next Top Model" was on par (2.4) and "Gossip Girl" had its second best rating to date (1.4).
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