Which shows are heading into winter vacation with some heat—and which ones aren't?
Let's find out:
1. Gossip Girl: Hit a season high last night, with 2.1 million viewers, prelim numbers show. Ditto for its CW companion, 90210 (2.1 million estimated).
2. Fringe: No, not all the news about this one is grim. Thursday's outing (5.1 million) was up 6 percent from the previous new episode. Now about keeping that momentum going on Friday nights…
3. Chuck: The best part about airing opposite Dancing With the Stars? Once you don't air opposite DWTS, you look like a superstar. Example: The week of DWTS' fall finale, Chuck scraped by with 4.8 million viewers; last week, with DWTS in hibernation, Chuck blew up (for Chuck) with 6.2 million viewers. Ditto for its on-thin-ice NBC companions, The Event (5.8 million last week) and Chase (6 million).
5. The Walking Dead: This show is going nowhere but up. A week after hitting a new high, Sunday's season-one finale hit another new high: 6 million, tops among all cable series.
6. Skating With the Stars: The anti-Walking Dead, this show is going nowhere but down: Last night, it got killed by the return of The Sing Off, and bottomed out with an estimated 4.8 million viewers.
7. Terriers: Yes, Wednesday's season finale was up from the previous week—784,000 viewers versus 614,000—but the bottom line was Monday's pink slip.
8. Sarah Palin's Alaska: Before Bristol Palin fires off a tweet, we know, we know: Her mom's show still rates a bigger audience than the vast majority of the shows in the vast cable universe. But Sunday's show (2.8 million) was down nearly 1 million from last week's (3.5 million), which itself was down more than 1 million from premiere week (5 million).
9. Grey's Anatomy: There was no major slippage (from 11.5 million for its previous new episode to 11 million for Thursday's), and the show was a top performer among the demographically desirable, but there were no fireworks, either.
10. People (read: men) who are waiting for the remote back: ABC Family's "25 Days of Christmas" programming, which averaged a franchise-best 3.1 million viewers last week, has only begun. Deal with it.
Here were the week's 10 most-watched (non-football) shows among 18- to 49-year-olds, per the just-released Nielsen Media Research broadcast rankings: