Comedy back with a bang

CBS scores with its scripted series

The sitcoms are back — and viewers have returned with them.

The first scripted productions to resume their broadcast runs since the writers strike ended were rewarded with some of their highest ratings all season.

CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" (9.1 million viewers, 3.7 rating/11 share in adults 18-49 demographic) matched its season-premiere rating. "How I Met Your Mother" (9.7 million, 4.3/11), "Two and a Half Men" (14 million, 5.4/13) and "The New Adventures of Old Christine" (11.4 million, 4.3/11) all hit season highs.

The news should give broadcast networks relief as the industry expected the four-month strike to result in viewership declines for returning shows. Also, "Mother" has yet to be renewed for the fall, and its rating should help ensure a pickup.

Even with the comedies' triumphant comeback, CBS was not the highest-rated network Monday night: Reality still held sway, with the season premiere of "Dancing With the Stars" (20.9 million, 5.5/15) leading ABC to victory (ABC's 14.9 million, 4.4/12 compared with CBS' 10.6 million, 3.9/10).

The 90-minute "Dancing" led into the premiere of "The Bachelor: London Calling" (9 million, 3.3/9). Both ABC reality shows were down slightly from the fall premieres. Still, "Dancing" was the highest-rated show of the night, and "Bachelor" won the 10 p.m. hour.

NBC came in third, with "My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad" (4.7 million, 1.5/4) sinking to a season low, then "Deal or No Deal" (10 million, 2.9/7) and "Medium" (9.9 million, 3.2/9).

In fourth, Fox aired "Canterbury's Law" (5.6 million, 1.7/5) and "New Amsterdam" (7.2 million, 2.3/6).