Hugh Laurie, House, Josh Jackson, Fringe

George Holz/FOX; Adam Taylor/FOX

A downsized House was big enough for Fringe.

Here's a look at the broadcast and cable ratings highlights for the week ended Sunday:

  • In its fifth-season premiere, Fox's House (14.8 million) was a shadow of its former self, down 3.5 million viewers from its fourth-season premiere.
  • Fringe (13.3 million), which aired after House, was not complaining. At all. The J.J. Abrams' show shot up a whopping 46 percent from its premiere week, adding on 4.2 million viewers.
  • The Emmys telecast was not—not!—the least-watched on record. After the final numbers kicked its total all the way up to 12.33 million viewers, Sunday's show became merely the second least-watched on record.
  • For next year, the Emmys should ask to air after House, or better, NBC's Sunday Night Football (a season-high 22.2 million).
  • ESPN's Monday Night Football (a cable-record 18.6 million) would do the Emmys some lead-in good, too.
  • Fox News owes Sarah Palin a basket of fruit. The network has been on fire since Palin's addition to the Republican presidential ticket. A Wednesday night Hannity & Colmes featuring a sit-down with the Alaskan governor was the fourth most-watched show on all of cable, with 4.9 million viewers. The second part of the interview, as aired on Thursday's show, was nearly as big (4.6 million).
  • Somehow, Bravo's Project Runway (4 million) did just fine without Palin or Joe Faris.
  • TNT's Raising the Bar (4.2 million) got renewed for a second season, as did HBO's True Blood (1.8 million). The CW's 90210 (3.3 million) got renewed for the rest of this season.
  • Showtime's Weeds, already renewed for two more seasons, crossed the 1 million viewer mark for its fourth-season finale, an upgrade of more than 35 percent over its season-three closer.
  • TNT's The Closer closed out the first half of its fourth season in typical fashion, as cable's most watched series (7.6 million).
  • Smallville (4.3 million) was the CW's biggest show, but its eighth-season premiere was down nearly 20 percent from last fall's opener.
  • Another CW show, Supernatural (4 million), got off to a great start, up about 1 million viewers from last fall's premiere.
  • CBS' Flashpoint hit a season high (9.7 million); ABC Family Channel's Lincoln Heights hit a series-premiere best (1.7 million for its third-season opener).
  • An all-new Wizards of Waverly Place (4 million) was cable's most watched comedy series, and the most watched Disney Channel show starring a nonwarring teen star.
  • Elsewhere in Disney Channel land, The Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl (3.4 million) outdrew Camp Rock (3.2 million).
  • Well, at least the new Fox game show Hole in the Wall (4.1 million) is a big hit in France and Mexico.

NBC won the final week of the 2007-08 TV year. Thanks to football, it scored more viewers (8.3 million) and more 18 to 49-year-olds (3.8 million) than the broadcast competition. Thanks to the Emmys, ABC (5.9 million) could do no better than third in total viewers.

Among cable networks, football drove ESPN (4.5 million) to a prime-time win. Fox News (2.7 million) and USA (2.6 million) trailed.

Here's a rundown of the 10 most watched broadcast network prime-time shows for the week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen Media Research:

  1. Sunday Night Football (Dallas at Green Bay), NBC, 22.2 million
  2. House, Fox, 14.8 million
  3. 60 Minutes, CBS, 14.6 million
  4. Sunday Night Football Pre-Kick, NBC, 14 million
  5. Fringe, Fox, 13.3 million
  6. 60th annual Emmy Awards, ABC, 12.3 million
  7. America's Got Talent (Wednesday), NBC, 12.2 million
  8. Football Night in America (Part 3), NBC, 10.9 million
  9. CSI, CBS, 10.2 million
  10. America's Got Talent (Thursday), NBC, 10 million
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