NBC's 'Gladiators' return dominates Sunday

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"American Gladiators" had a solid return to television as NBC's reincarnation of the 1980s athletic competition scored a 5.9 rating/14 share among adults 18-49 and 12 million viewers overall in its two-hour debut Sunday.

"Gladiators" logged NBC's highest non-sports 18-49 rating in this time period in three years, since the 2005 Golden Globes Jan. 16, 2005. In total viewers, it's NBC's top non-sports result in the slot since the Emmy Awards August 27, 2006.

"Gladiators" also marks the highest-rated new series debut of the season on any network in 18-49 and NBC's highest-rated premiere for a new show since "Heroes."

The premiere of ABC's new drama "Cashmere Mafia" had a less promising debut behind the last original episode of "Desperate Housewives."

"Housewives" stood tall at 9 p.m. with an average of 19.8 million viewers and a 7.2/16 in 18-49, according to preliminary Nielsen numbers.

"Cashmere" followed at 10 p.m. with a 3.8/9 and 10.7 million viewer overall, down 15% from the season average of "Brothers & Sisters" originals in the time period and dropping 15% between the first and the second half-hour.

For the night, ABC (12.8 million viewers, 4.5/11) finished tied for No. 1 among adults 18-49 with a football overrun-inflated CBS (15.3 million, 4.5/11), which was tops in total viewers.

NBC (11.2 million, 4.4/11) was close behind in the demo.

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