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Is The Bachelor Growing on You?

THE BACHELOR ABC

Things didn't start out well for Ben Flajnik, and not just because he was greeted with a cheesy (bacon-y?) come-on.

The Bachelor's 16th season launched to franchise-low ratings.

But things are looking up for Flajnik, and not just because he got to enjoy the wonder that is bikini-skiing.

RELATED: Meet the new Bachelorette star

Last night's Bachelor averaged 8.2 million overall viewers, and a 2.7 rating among 18-to-49-year-olds, per estimates. Both numbers are season highs.

The Nielsen turnaround started last week. (See: bikini skiing.) Four episodes in, Flajnik's Bachelor is finally approaching last year's Brad Womack edition.

And with Amber Bacon long gone, there's no (less?) danger of more breakfast-food lines.

Here's a look at the other ratings winners—and losers, per the latest overnight and weekly rankings:

Alcatraz: A Top 20 start last week; a good hold last night.

House: If the Hugh Laurie series lives on, Monday's winning performance (8.7 million viewers, 3.1 demo rating) should get some credit.

American Idol: As expected, the franchise's much-maligned season premiere was TV's No. 1 non-sports show.

Men in tight pants: A few people watched Sunday's two Super Bowl-deciding football games. And by a few, we mean a combined average audience of 106.3 million.

Betty White and Snooki: They just keep going and going. White's birthday special was a Top 10 broadcast hit, its rerun was a Saturday-night hit, and the premiere of the actress' new series, Off Their Rockers, was a Top 15 broadcast hit. Jersey Shore, meanwhile, was cable's No. 1 show (with 6.2 million viewers).

Rob Lowe While he's no White or Snooki, he did score with the Lifetime cable movie, Drew Peterson: Untouchable (5.8 million viewers).

Revenge: Up a touch from its last episode, to a 2.5 demo rating.

Glee: Returned from Christmas break in solid shape, with a 3.1 demo rating.  

New Girl: Returned from Christmas break in super-solid shape, with a 3.4 demo rating.

Parks & Recreation: Paul Rudd might not be good for Pawnee, but he was good for business—the comedy scored its biggest audience (4.3 million) since September.

The Finder: Up nearly 30 percent in the demo, to a 2.2, from its premiere. (Thanks, American Idol!)    

Are You There, Chelsea?: Down more than 25 percent in the demo, to a 1.7, from its premiere. 

The Firm and Prime Suspect: NBC's new 10 p.m. Thursday show drew a sub-1.0 demo rating; NBC's old 10 p.m. Thursday show, burning off its final episodes on Sunday, drew two sub-1.0 demo ratings.

Here's a complete look at the TV week's top 10 most-watched broadcast shows:

  1. NFC Championship (New York Giants vs. San Francisco), 57.6 million viewers
  2. NFC Championship postgame, 31 million viewers
  3. American Idol (Wednesday), 21.9 million viewers
  4. American Idol (Thursday), 18 million viewers
  5. The Big Bang Theory, 15.8 million viewers
  6. Person of Interest, 14.4 million viewers
  7. The Mentalist, 14.2 million viewers
  8. Betty White's 90th Birthday, 13.9 million viewers
  9. NCIS (rerun), 13.2 million viewers
  10. Two and a Half Men, 13 million viewers

PHOTOS: Sneaky Bachelors

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