Cartoon Network; NBC
Star Wars: The Clone Wars premiered big. Friday Night Lights premiered…well… Anyway, it premiered.
When The Clone Wars bowed in theaters in August, it was called a glorified TV pilot, and sure enough it brought glory to Cartoon Network—4 million viewers for Friday's back-to-back episodes, a new record for the cable network.
Friday Night Lights' third-season opener was watched by, um, 400,000, The New York Times reported, down, um, 6 million viewers from last fall's premiere. But don't punt the football yet: FNL is running exclusively right now on DirecTV, the subscription-only satellite system that helped save the series.
Possibly in need of saving soon: NBC's Heroes , which hit another new low last week (9.5 million) and was down again last night. So no one's watching, right? Not quite.
No one, relatively speaking, is watching Heroes when it airs Mondays on NBC. But on Hulu, the same episode was the No. 3 show of the week.
Likewise Fox's Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (5.4 million) looks much bigger on the Web, where it was in Fancast's Top 5 today.
Some other high- and lowlights from the latest weekly rankings:
- ABC's Pushing Daisies hadn't aired a new episode since last December. So should the series be considered a new show or a returning show? Pushing Daisies likely would argue for the former, considering that its second-season premiere (6.3 million) was down 52 percent—52 percent—when compared to its first-season opener.
- ABC's Private Practice (8.2 million, down 43 percent from last fall's premiere) also would like the Pushing Daisies comparison exemption.
- ABC's Dirty Sexy Money (7 million) and NBC's Life (6.9 million) would like credit for only being down about 30 percent each from their year-ago premieres. NBC's Chuck (6.8 million) would like to boast it held up even "better."
- ABC's Ugly Betty (8.3 million) is three seasons old and fading. Fox's Bones (10 million) is four seasons old and growing.
- Fox's House (13 million) might look ill—it's dropped millions of viewers this fall from last—if it weren't doing so well among 18- to 49-year-olds. It ranked third in the demographic.
- CBS' The Mentalist (15.48 million) was the most-watched new show. Fox's Fringe (9.9 million) was the No. 1 new show in the 18-49 demo.
- Kenley Collins is nothing if not annoying compelling. Bravo's Project Runway (4 million) was cable's most-watched unscripted—or scripted—series.
- Comedy winners: CBS' Two and a Half Men (13.6 million) and Disney Channel's Wizards of Waverly Place (3.9 million).
- Drama queens—and kings: CBS' NCIS (17.5 million, the most-watched series) and ABC's Desperate Housewives (15.7 million, the most-watched series among 18- to 49-year-olds).
- Sci Fi Channel got a lift from the green-screen-friendly new series Sanctuary (2.7 million).
- Friday Night Smackdown (3.2 million) wasn't as big on myNetworkTV as it was on the CW, but myNetworkTV wasn't complaining.
- Is it already time to write off CBS' The Ex List (6.8 million)?
- The good news for the otherwise low-rated Lipstick Jungle (5.3 million): It's tied as the highest-rated series this season among "upscale" 18-49 households, NBC said. The bad news: Today's stock market wiped out its fan base.
Thanks to Sarah Palin and Joe Biden, there was no new Grey's Anatomy, no CSI premiere and, perhaps as a result, no show that topped 20 million viewers.
In the broadcast network races, CBS won the week in total viewers (11.1 million) and 18- to 49-year-olds (4.2 million). Everybody's bleeding 18- to 34-year-olds except the CW, which is convincing them to stay put for Gossip Girl (3.4 million overall) and 90210 (3.2 million) and is up 8 percent in the demo for the young season. (Among 18- to 34-year-old women, the CW's up 27 percent.)
In cable, the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox helped make FrankTV, sorry, TBS the top prime-time network (4.7 million), while Palin boosted Fox News (3.8 million) and football led ESPN (3 million).
Here's a rundown of the 10 most-watched broadcast network prime-time shows for the week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen Media Research:
- Dancing With the Stars (Monday), ABC, 18.9 million viewers
- NCIS, CBS, 17.5 million viewers
- 60 Minutes, CBS, 16.6 million viewers
- Desperate Housewives, ABC, 15.7 million viewers
- Dancing With the Stars (Tuesday), ABC, 15.5 million viewers
- The Mentalist, CBS, 15.48 million viewers
- CSI: NY, CBS, 14.9 million viewers
- Criminal Minds, CBS, 14.8 million viewers
- CSI: Miami, CBS, 14.3 million viewers
- Sunday Night Football (Pittsburgh at Jacksonville), NBC, 14.2 million viewers