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NBC wins Tuesday with help from 'Earl'

(Posted September 21, 2005 by Leah Yoakum)

NBC's prayers were answered Tuesday with a strong opening for its heavily promoted new comedy "My Name Is Earl," which led the network to win the second night of the 2005-06 season by a comfortable margin.

The unconventional comedy, which stars Jason Lee as a petty thief who decides to right the wrongs he's committed after winning the lottery, bowed at 9 p.m. to 14.9 million viewers and 6.4 rating/16 share in the adults 18-49 demographic, according to preliminary estimates from Nielsen Media Research.

"Earl" impressed by soaring more than 6 million viewers and six demo share points from its modest 8 p.m. lead-in, "The Biggest Loser" (7.9 million, 3.4/10); it also put a dent in the turnout for the first half-hour of Fox's 9 p.m. hot-shot "House," (13.5 million, 4.8/12), which enjoyed a strong sophomore season bow in the time slot last week.

The medical drama finished out Tuesday with a solid 13.5 million viewers and 4.8/12 in the key demo (compared to nearly 15.9 million and 5.9/15 last week) after surging in its second half-hour when NBC's fortunes sank with the second-season premiere of "The Office" (9.2 million, 4.3/10). "House" gained nearly 2 million viewers and two demo share points from its first half-hour to its second.

Fox had a harder time at 8 p.m. with the second outing of new drama "Bones" (7.3 million, 3.0/9), which dropped considerably from its premiere ratings last week. ABC was also slow out of the gate with an underwhelming turnout for the premiere of "According to Jim" (7.8 million, 2.4/7) in its new time slot. ABC's 90-minute "Dancing with the Stars: Dance Off" special, a rematch of the winner and runner up of its summer reality hit, was overshadowed from 8:30-10 p.m. (10.5 million, 2.8/7) by NBC and Fox, nor did CBS do much business with the finale of "Big Brother 6" (8.5 million, 3.2/8).

At 10 p.m., NBC was back on top with a good showing from the seventh-season premiere of "Law & Order: SVU" (16.4 million, 5.4/14), which ranked as the most-watched program of the night. CBS' finale of "Rock Star: INXS" (7.9 million, 3.9/10) produced the highest ratings of that series' disappointing three-month run. ABC was a distant third with "Wife Swap" (7 million, 2.4/6).

The WB Network hung tough with week two of its hot prospect of the season, 9 p.m. drama "Supernatural" (4.8 million, 2/1/5), coming out of a solid number from 8 p.m.'s "Gilmore Girls" (5.5 million, 2.4/7). UPN's "America's Next Top Model: Return to the Runway" special (3.1 million, 1.5/4) didn't light much of a fire at 8 p.m.

For the night, NBC prevailed with an average of 12.1 million viewers and 4.7/12 in adults 18-49. Fox nosed past CBS to rank No. 2 in viewers (Fox's 10.4 million to CBS' 10.3 million) and adults 18-49 (3.9/10).

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

Source: Yahoo! News

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