'Fringe' benefits for Fox's Tuesday sked


J.J. Abrams' mind-control experiment seems to be working. The second episode of Fox's supernatural science fiction thriller "Fringe" jumped a stunning 59% in the ratings Tuesday night.

"Fringe" (13.2 million viewers and a 5.1 rating/13 share in the key adults 18-49 demographic) climbed significantly in the demo compared with last week's two-hour premiere. The 9 p.m. drama retained 91% of the adult demo rating from its new lead-in, the debut of Fox's returning hit medical drama "House."

According to Fox, the "Fringe" spike is the largest ratings jump a new series has made from Week 1 to Week 2 on any broadcast network in more than a decade. That gain comes despite increased competition from NBC, whose latest installment of "The Biggest Loser" (7.9 million, 3.2/9) premiered slightly better than last season's debut.

Yet the news was not all sunny for Fox. "House" (14.7 million, 5.6/16) helped fuel "Fringe" but was down 28% from last year's premiere and was the lowest-rated Tuesday original of the drama since 2005. Last year, the show aired at 9 p.m. during the official broadcast premiere week, so it had a more effective launch period.

In its third week, the CW's "90210" (3.3 million, 1.7/5) halted its ratings plummet after last week's steep drop. The teen drama stopped at a number similar to "Gossip Girl." The show even improved slightly among the network's target women 18-34 demo.

The new CW drama "Privileged" (2.4 million, 1.1/3) failed to improve its meager debut rating at 9 p.m. and sunk a tenth in the adult demo.

Fox easily won the night. NBC placed second with a "Families" edition of "Biggest Loser." ABC and CBS tied for third, with CBS airing the season finale of "Big Brother" (7.6 million, 2.7/7). (partialdiff)
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