'House' is big, 'Big Day' debut is not

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NEW YORK -- "House" put up big numbers while ABC's "Big Day" was anything but in its premiere Tuesday night.

"House" was by far the night's top show in the adults 18-49 demographic -- scoring its highest demo rating and viewership since its September premiere -- but was edged out by CBS's "NCIS" in viewership, which reached a season high for the show.

"House" averaged 17.1 million viewers and a 6.8 rating/17 share in the adults 18-49 demo, according to preliminary data released Wednesday by Nielsen Media Research. It was the highest "House" by major measures since the Sept. 5 premiere, and it led Fox to a win for the night in the adults 18-49 demo.

ABC had rough sledding following 8 p.m.'s "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (13 million, 4.8/13) with a pair of sitcoms. The premiere of "Big Day" averaged 7.6 million viewers and a 2.8/7 in the demo, losing 42% of its lead-in in adults 18-49 for a fourth-place showing at 9 p.m. And "Help Me Help You" (5 million, 1.8/4) didn't get the help it needed, dropping to its lowest ratings of the season.

"NCIS" (17.9 million, 4.1/11) followed up on its season-high viewership last week with a new record and was second in the hour in adults 18-49 to "A Charlie Brown Christmas.) "The Unit" (12.5 million, 3.4/9) was about even with last week. "3 LBS" (7.9 million, 2.4/6) was down week-to-week at 10 p.m.

NBC had quiet nights with "Friday Night Lights" (5.8 million, 2.3/6) and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (9.7 million, 3.1/8), as did Fox at 8 p.m. with "Standoff" (5.8 million, 2.3/6). But the Peacock, which won Monday night in adults 18-49, came alive at 10 p.m. with "Law & Order: SVU" (14.6 million, 5.2/14) that was first in its time period in both key measures. ABC's "Boston Legal" (9.8 million, 3.0/8) was about average.

Over on The CW, "Veronica Mars" (3.5 million, 1.6/4) hit series high ratings in adults 18-34 and tied its highest adults 18-49 demo rating. "Gilmore Girls" (4.8 million, 2.2/6) had its highest-rated episode of the season in adults 18-34.

Nightly averages: ABC (9.7 million, 3.4/9); CBS (12.8 million, 3.3/9); NBC (10.2 million, 3.6/9); Fox (11.5 million, 4.6/12); and The CW (4.2 million, 1.9/5).
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