NBC wins demo race Monday


NEW YORK -- NBC won Monday night in the adults 18-49 demographic despite an inauspicious premiere for its new drama "The Black Donnellys."

Meanwhile, CBS won the nights in viewers, ABC hit a season high in the demo with "Wife Swap" and Fox stayed even with "Prison Break" but fell slightly with "24."

"The Black Donnellys" hoped to do better than "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," which started well but crashed soon after its premiere and stood in sharp contrast to the biggest new hit, "Heroes," an hour earlier. "The Black Donnellys" averaged 8.4 million viewers and a 3.5 rating/9 share in the adults 18-49 demographic, according to preliminary data released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

But that was helped by a few minutes runover from "Heroes," which will likely drop its average further when the final ratings are in later today. It fell from a "Heroes"-helped 10 million viewers and a 4.1/10 in the demo to 6.8 million and a 2.8/8 at 10:30 p.m. "Studio 60" averaged 6.1 million viewers and a 2.4/6 in its last episode Feb. 19. But it was an improvement of 9% for NBC in the time period compared to the 3.2 rating season-to-date.

The 8 p.m. hour went in both measures to NBC's "Deal or No Deal" (17.3 million, 4.9/12), which was up slightly in the demo compared to last week. CBS's sitcoms were up in the demo as well with "How I Met Your Mother" (9.4 million, 3.6/10) up from last week's 3.4/9 and "The Class" (9 million, 3.5/9) up from last week's 3.5/9. ABC's "Wife Swap" (9 million, 3.9/10) gave its highest adults 18-49 rating of the season. "Prison Break" (9.4 milllion, 3.9/10) remained even week-to-week in the demo.

"Heroes" (14.3 million, 6.4/15) gave another winning performance at 9 p.m., despite stronger ratings for ABC's "Supernanny" and CBS' "Two and a Half Men." "Heroes" was up compared to last week's 14.1 million and 6.0/14. "Two and a Half Men" (16.7 million, 5.5/13) was up over last week's 16.5 million and 5.3/12 although "Rules of Engagement" (13.7 million, 4.8/11) was down slightly from its 4.9/11 last week. "Supernanny" (10.1 million, 4.1/10) was up signfiicantly from last week's 8.9 million and 3.5/8.

The 10 p.m. hour went to "CSI: Miami" (17.2 million, 5.5/14), which was up in viewers but dow in the demo compared to last week's 19.2 million and 5.9/15. ABC's Oprah Winfrey Special "Building a Dream" was tied with "The Black Donnellys" (8.4 million, 3.5/9) for second place in the demo.

Nightly averages: ABC (9.3 million, 3.8/10); CBS (13.9 million, 4.7/12); NBC (13.3 million, 4.9/12); Fox (11.1 million, 4.4/11); and The CW (2.5 million, 1.1/3).