Soft landing for returnees

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The Golden Globes and "24," two programs derailed by last year's WGA strike, returned Sunday to considerably smaller ratings than when they were previously seen in 2007.

Still, the performances were not out of line with how most shows are performing compared with two years ago.

The 66th annual Globes averaged 14.6 million viewers across its three hours on NBC, earning a 4.8 rating and an 11 share among adults 18-49.

That's down 26% in the adult demographic compared with 2007 (last year's brief awards news conference is not considered comparable) and marks the lowest-rated Globes since NBC took over the telecast in 1996. A red carpet special served as lead-in (7.7 million, 1.8/5).

The Globes were upstaged in the 9 p.m. hour by a drama series that was shut out of this year's nominations — ABC's "Desperate Housewives" (13.8 million, 5.2/12), which ranked as the top-rated entertainment program of the night.

On Fox, "24" (12.5 million, 4.2/9) returned to face head-on the similarly strike-exiled Globes. The action drama came in second place at 8 p.m. but slipped into third when "Housewives" stepped in.

The "24" rating is up 5% from November's prequel telefilm "Redemption" but down a sharp 31% from the program's 2007 series premiere. Sunday's episode was the lowest-rated "24" debut in the adult demo, though not among total viewers.

Despite all the high-profile premieres, CBS won the night propelled by a high-rated NFL playoff overrun from the Pittsburgh-San Diego game. The Eye also had "60 Minutes" (15.6 million, 4.0/9), "Cold Case" (12.4 million, 3.0/7) and "The Unit" (10.4 million, 2.7/7).

NBC was second with the Globes. ABC placed third and also had "Extreme Makeover" (10.3 million, 3.4/8) and "Brothers & Sisters" (9.1 million, 3.4/8). Fox was close behind in fourth with "24" and repeats. (partialdiff)
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