Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half Men), William Shatner (Boston Legal)

Greg Gayne/Warner Bros., ABC/Randy Holmes

Two and a Half Men was dominant in its return from a holiday break, averaging a Monday- and season-best 15.6 million viewers, Nielsen ratings estimates revealed.

NBC's Heroes (7.8 million) was about even with last week, but fell to third in the 9 p.m. hour behind CBS' Two and a Half Men and Worst Week (10.6 million), and the first half of ABC's Boston Legal series finale (9.9 million). (Heroes did run second among the 18-49 set, behind the CBS comedies.)

From 9-11 p.m., James Spader's and William Shatner's Boston Legal ended its five-season run before 10.2 million viewers, up about 1 million from its season average.

At 8 p.m., The Big Bang Theory (10.8 million) hit a series high, and How I Met Your Mother (10.5 million) scored its biggest audience since Britney Spears' first cameo last season. But the comedy block took second to ABC's A Charlie Brown Christmas (11.4 million). NBC's Chuck (6.9 million) and Fox's Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (5.2 million) have seen bigger weeks. Ditto for Fox's Prison Break (5.4 million) at 9 p.m.

On the CW, Gossip Girl (3 million) tied CBS' 8 p.m. comedies for first among women 18-34. Privileged (1.9 million) matched its series-best in the network's favorite demo, even while drawing fewer overall viewers than usual. 

CBS' CSI: Miami (13.6 million) ruled at 10 p.m. NBC's My Own Worst Enemy (4 million) nearly got beat by the Univision talk show Cristina (3.9 million), while its network counted the days until Jay Leno took over the hour.

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