'Jim' works out for ABC

Veteran sitcom's return way up from '07 bow

ABC returned midseason comedy "According to Jim" to its Tuesday lineup with back-to-back episodes of the veteran series filling the 9 p.m. hour.

Although "Jim" (averaging 5.8 million viewers, 2.1 adults 18-49 rating/6 share) lost 29% of its "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town" lead-in (8.9 million, 3.1/8), the Jim Belushi sitcom was up sharply from last year's premiere and returned respectable numbers in what's been a tough night for ABC this season. At 10 p.m. "Eli Stone" (4.9 million, 1.5/4) continued to sag.

With fourth-place ABC airing "Jim" this week instead of "Dancing With the Stars," both CBS' "The Mentalist" (18.7 million, 3.8/9) and Fox's "Fringe" (8.5 million, 3.6/9) were up slightly.

"Fringe" climbed despite lead-in "House" (12.5 million, 5.0/14) falling 10%. "House" was nonetheless the night's highest-rated show and helped Fox top the night.

Among total viewers, "The Mentalist" went up 18% to hit a season high and was Tuesday's most-watched show. CBS' "Without a Trace" (12.3 million, 2.6/7) was on par. Overall CBS finished third in the demo for the night.

NBC was second with "The Biggest Loser" (8.8 million, 3.4/9) . (partialdiff)