Shot in arm for ABC

'Scrubs' solid in first stint at new network home

The second half of the broadcast season got under way this week, marked by the premieres of several new and returning shows, including the ABC debut of "Scrubs."

The veteran hospital comedy, which switched networks and time periods for its eighth season, had a solid opening in its new Tuesday home. The one-hour premiere (averaging 6.7 million viewers and a 3.8 rating/8 share in adults 18-49) was down 18% from the show's most recent NBC season debut in fall 2007 and marked a season- opening low for the series.

Nonetheless, the bow represented a solid performance considering "Scrubs" improved its time period with competitive numbers despite a somewhat modest lead-in — the premiere of the border-security documentary series "Homeland Security USA" (7.8 million, 2.3/6).

Also on Tuesday, the return of NBC's "The Biggest Loser" (11.8 million, 4.4/11) again demonstrated the show's resistance to ratings erosion, matching its previous premiere high in the adult demo. In fact, among total viewers, it was the biggest "Loser" opening to date.

At the same time, "Loser" competitor "The Mentalist" (19.6 million, 3.9/10) on CBS also set a viewership record.

On Monday, ABC's reality block of "The Bachelor" and new series "True Beauty" had a strong premiere, topping other entertainment programming in the ratings, while Fox won the night overall with coverage of the Fiesta Bowl.

"Bachelor" (8.7 million, 3.1/7) matched last year's debut, and "Beauty" (7.6 million, 3.1/7) held its lead-in to conquer the 10 p.m. hour.

The first night of NBC's "Superstars of Dance" (9.5 million, 2.7/7) in its regular time period held the final half-hour rating from Sunday's premiere for a reasonable performance.

On cable Monday, the second-season premiere of "Secret Life of the American Teenager" (4.4 million viewers, 1.9 million adults 18-49) was ABC Family's most-watched series premiere to date — up 57% from its debut in July against steeper competition.

For last week's ratings, NBC (9.4 million, 2.9/8) won in the adult demo thanks to two NFL playoff games Saturday, with Fox (8.7 million, 2.8/8) close behind powered by college football. ABC (6.5 million, 2.1/6) was third, led by "Desperate Housewives," and CBS, topped by a "Two and a Half Men" repeat, placed fourth (8.4 million, 2.0/5). (partialdiff)
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