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No Big Winners on Season's First Night

(Posted September 21, 2005 by Leah Yoakum)

LOS ANGELES ( Several new series got off to decent starts on the first night of the new TV season, but no show -- new or old -- really broke out of the pack.

There were a couple of hopeful signs at NBC, which saw fairly solid numbers for its sci-fi drama "Surface," and CBS, whose new comedies "How I Met Your Mother" and "Out of Practice" fit in fairly well with established shows "The King of Queens" and "Two and a Half Men." FOX's "Arrested Development," however, still can't get arrested in the nation's living rooms, and its companion, "Kitchen Confidential," didn't heat things up either.

ABC ended up winning the night with its one-time-only "Monday Night Football" doubleheader, which came about after the New Orleans Saints-New York Giants game had to be rescheduled in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. That game, which started at 7:30 p.m. ET, and the regularly scheduled Dallas-Washington matchup at 9 p.m., combined to average 15.8 million viewers in primetime and a 6.2 rating in the ad-friendly adults 18-49 demographic.

At CBS, the well-reviewed "How I Met Your Mother" drew just under 11 million viewers and a 3.9 18-49 rating to its premiere; both numbers were improvements over its "Queens" lead-in (10.74 million, 3.6). An hour later, "Out of Practice" brought in about 13.2 million viewers, retaining a strong 88 percent of the audience from lead-in "Two and a Half Men."

That retention, though, is a bit of a good news-bad news situation in that "Men," which delivered 15 million viewers, was down more than a million viewers from its premiere last season, and off by close to 3 million viewers from the 2004 premiere of "Everybody Loves Raymond," whose 9 p.m. timeslot "Men" inherited this year. Similarly, the season opener of "CSI: Miami" (19.2 million viewers, 6.7 in adults 18-49), while the most-watched show of the night, was down about 3 million viewers and more than a full point in the 18-49 demographic.

At NBC, "Surface" -- whose reviews pegged it as the least compelling of the three aliens-among-us shows this season -- debuted to 11.2 million viewers at 8 p.m., along with a decent 3.8 rating among adults 18-49. That's off a little from the "Fear Factor" season premiere last year but ahead of that show's season average for 2004-05. "Surface" also added viewers in its second half-hour, usually a good sign for a show.

"Las Vegas" and "Medium" began their seasons to 12.5 million and 12.7 million viewers. That's a slight improvement for "Vegas" over last fall's premiere but a dropoff from the 16 million-plus who watched "Medium's" debut in January.

The only good news for FOX on the night was that "Prison Break," which scored about 7.8 million viewers, managed to self-start after being saddle with an anemic lead-in. Despite a plea for viewers from "Arrested Development" creator Mitch Hurwitz at Sunday's Emmys, his show drew fewer than 5 million people for its third-season premiere -- losing out to The WB's "7th Heaven." "Kitchen Confidential" dropped off a little from its lead-in.

Source: Zap2it

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