'House' warming on new night

Strong '24' lead-in helps Fox to its highest-rated Monday since 2007

Fox's new Monday lineup pulled the rug out from usual victor CBS, scoring the network's best numbers for the evening in nearly two years — and without the benefit of its usual January ratings sledgehammer "American Idol."

After spending the fall serving as the lead-in for Tuesday's "Fringe," Fox's "House" was switched to Mondays to put pressure on CBS' comedies and help jump-start the evening for the return of "24."

The change in scenery seems to suit the medical drama, whose time-period debut was on par with its Tuesday average. Moreover, "House" (14.9 million viewers, 5.4 rating/13 share in adults 18-49) managed to beat usual 8 p.m. leaders "The Big Bang Theory" (11.1 million, 4.0/10) and "How I Met Your Mother" (10.8 million, 4.5/11).

The comedies were knocked down a few pegs from their recent record highs but still performed better than average. The fact that Monday was a holiday also could have affected the numbers.

The strong lead-in prevented second-week erosion for "24" (12 million, 4.1/9), which marched in lock-step with last week's Monday debut. All told, Fox won the night by a fair margin and marked the highest-rated Monday evening of entertainment programming by any network this season.

CBS was a strong second with "Two and a Half Men" (16 million, 5.4/12) and "Worst Week" (9.6 million, 3.0/7), followed by 10 p.m.'s "CSI: Miami" (14.5 million, 3.7/10).

ABC placed third with "The Bachelor" (10 million, 3.5/8), which scored a season high in its second week of gains. It was followed by an on-par "True Beauty" (5.9 million, 2.7/7).

NBC's "Superstars of Dance" (6.4 million, 1.7/4) continued to drop, and the finale of "Momma's Boys" (4.9 million, 1.8/4) was on par. The CW's "Gossip Girl" (2.2 million, 1.0/3) hit a season low, followed by "One Tree Hill" (2.6 million, 1.2/3). (partialdiff)
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