How Shrek Stole the Grinch's Christmas

Rash Report: Ogre Tops Seuss Classic, but Grouchy 'House' Wins Night for Fox

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MINNEAPOLIS ( -- It was a good night for the Grinch, but a better night for a grouch.

'Shrek the Halls' held 94% of its rating from last season, and was ABC's highest-rated show of the night.
'Shrek the Halls' held 94% of its rating from last season, and was ABC's highest-rated show of the night. Credit: ABC
The Dr. Seuss holiday special on ABC was off 24% from last year in the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic, delivering a 2.9/8 rating and share. But Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) -- the Grinch-like medical malcontent who seems like he not only would like to steal Christmas, but every other holiday as well -- also stole enough viewers, especially from CBS repeats, to make Fox's "House" (4.8/12) the night's highest rated show on broadcast. (ESPN's "Monday Night Football," as usual, will most likely win the demo derby overall when final live-plus-same-day data is released Wednesday, as Nielsen only has fast affiliate ratings available due to the Thanksgiving break.)

Combined with "House's" lead-out "Lie to Me" (2.7/6, which was just a tenth of a ratings point below its season average), Fox finished first with an overall 3.8/9.

And despite running reruns, CBS still finished second with a 2.5/6. After first-hour sitcoms "How I Met Your Mother" (2.1/5) and "Accidentally on Purpose" (1.7/4) finished fourth in their timeslots, "Two and a Half Men" (3.1/8) and "Big Bang Theory" (3.3/8) held two-thirds of their regular original-episode levels and won the 9-10p.m. hour, beating not only "Lie to Me," but week two of ABC's "Find my Family," which lost 21% of its program premiere rating from last week. "Two and a Half Men" and "Big Bang Theory" also were 77% higher-rated than NBC's "Trauma" (1.8/4), and more than double the CW's "Gossip Girl" (1.1/3, matching lead-in "One Tree Hill").

And at 10 p.m., "CSI: Miami" (2.5/6) won as well, despite it, too, being a repeat.

"CSI: Miami's" win over ABC's "Castle" (1.9/5) was to be expected, as it too was a rerun. Which meant that it would have been an ideal night for NBC's "Jay Leno Show" to make a move. But instead "Leno" --- whose latest ratings nemesis is not just original episodes on other networks, but DVR'd shows as well -- still finished last with a 1.3/3. Combined with original episodes of "Trauma" and "Heroes" (2.5/6), NBC finished fourth with a 1.9/5.

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

As for the Grinch, he got a taste of his own medicine -- and from another green monster, at that: "Grinch" lead-out "Shrek the Halls" held 94% of its rating from last season, and actually beat the holiday classic with a 3.2/8 en route to being ABC's highest-rated show of the night, as overall the network finished third with a 2.4/6.

Tuesday: OK, just for a night, crowd out crowd-pleasing, escapist entertainment, to watch Barack Obama detail his Afghanistan plan, which may be the single most important issue the president presides over.
Wednesday: OK; cold, harsh reality break is over. Back to warm fuzzies of Christmas specials, including "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" on CBS, "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" on NBC and "Mr. Christmas" on PBS.

Given the gravity of discussing war strategy, as opposed to a health care public option, higher ratings for Obama's speech than recent presidential press conferences.

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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

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