'House' Holds Demo Crown on Monday Night

Rash Report: CBS Close Second as 'Big Bang Theory' Sets Series Highs

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MINNEAPOLIS (AdAge.com) -- With today's fractured and fragmented media landscape lowering the bar on what constitutes a "hit" on TV, perhaps the true test is whether a show can switch timeslots and survive, let alone thrive. Given that standard, Fox's "House," which last year made a home on both Monday and Tuesday nights, is a hit.

'House' Credit: Chris Haston/FOX
And despite dropping 13% of its ad-centric adult 18-49 year olds from its two-hour season premiere last week, the 5.8/15 rating and share made it the highest rated show of the night in the demo. Combined with a 2.9/7 for the season premiere of "Lie to Me," Fox finished first with an overall 4.4/11.

Conversely, NBC had a hit in "Heroes" during its breakout broadcast season on Wednesday nights two years ago, but in year three it's struggling on Monday nights, as last night's 2.5/7 was 11% lower than last week's already weak season premiere. It finished fourth in the timeslot, as did lead-out "Trauma" (2.2/5), which only delivered 44% of the viewers watching the season premiere for the show that used to be in that timeslot (ironically, "Heroes"). "The Jay Leno Show" (1.7/4) followed, down a tenth of a ratings point from last week's last place showing in the timeslot. Overall, NBC finished fourth with a 2.1/5.

After three episodes last week it seems ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" knows no timeslot boundaries. But it will soon settle down to a Monday/Tuesday schedule. Last night's two hour competition was competitive -- especially with households, which it won -- but in the demo the 3.7/9 fell 10% from last week. Lead-out "Castle" (2.2/6) was off a tenth of a ratings point from last week's season bow as ABC finished third with a 3.2/8.

As for CBS, it has built such a cozy comedic home that shows like "Two and a Half Men" and "Big Bang Theory" can switch timeslots, if not nights, to become big hits. But even the protected space in-between "How I Met Your Mother" (matching last week's season premiere, 3.6/10) and "Men" (4.8/12, up 7%) the foundation is not sound for "Accidentally on Purpose" (3.1/8, down 6%), which not only seems like it couldn't switch timeslots but increasingly appears to be this year's version of "Yes, Dear," the creative clunker that hangs in there commercially, but isn't long for the schedule.

"Big Bang Theory," conversely, is, and once again it superseded its lead-in en route to record ratings, delivering a 5.3/13, which is up 13% from last week's strong start. "CSI: Miami" (4.1/11, two tenths of a ratings point off last week) followed, as the network averaged a second place 4.2/11.

Rash grids

See how all the shows did in the ratings.
And the CW's "One Tree Hill" (1.1/3, even with last week) and "Gossip Girl" (20% more whisperers with a 1.2/3) had the network finishing fifth with an overall 1.2/3.

What can't yet be gauged, due to Nielsen data delays, are ratings for a program that will probably never change nights, but has changed networks -- and even media forms -- but remains a big hit: ESPN's "Monday Night Football," which most weeks scores broadcast-sized ratings, and sometimes even wins.

Tuesday: "The Good Wife's" inter-family dialogue is far more compelling than the courtroom theatrics that make up the show's more episodic elements. See how week two progresses on CBS at 10 p.m.
Wednesday: The new fall season's most direct attempt to reflect the Great Recession debuts with ABC's "Hank" (Kelsey Grammer as a "master of the universe" mauled by the bear market) and "The Middle" (Patricia Heaton, matriarch of a middle class family in the middle of Indiana).

CBS's Tuesday lineup of "NCIS," "NCIS Los Angeles" and "The Good Wife" was unheralded, but not unwatched. Will week two be a complete sweep again?

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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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