Oprah gives ABC big night


Oprah Winfrey gave big to ABC on Sunday night as the premiere of her new reality show triumphed in the Nielsen ratings.

Critics might have been less than kind, but the debut of the talk-show host's philanthropic reality effort "Oprah's Big Give" was the highest-rated program of the night, according to preliminary returns. Plus, the "Big Give" audience spilled over into the under-the-radar debut of another ABC unscripted title, "Here Come the Newlyweds," helping ABC win the night among key measures.

ABC opened with "America's Funniest Home Videos" (8.2 million total viewers, 2.7 rating among adults 18-49/8 share), followed by "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (14.8 million, 5.1/13), "Big Give" (15.6 million, 5.3/12) and "Newlyweds" (10.3 million, 4.1/11). ABC won every hour from 8-11 p.m., with "Big Give" becoming third-most-watched freshman series debut this season (following Fox's "Moment of Truth" and "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles").

In second place, Fox's ratings are preliminary because "NASCAR: Spring Cup" (12.5 million, 4.7/13) pushed the start times of Fox's comedies to about 8:30 p.m. "NASCAR" was followed by "The Simpsons" (7.9 million, 3.8/9), "King of the Hill" (7.7 million, 4.1/10), "Family Guy" (7.1 million, 3.7/9) and the debut of "Unhitched" (2.5/6).

CBS was third with "60 Minutes" (12.1 million, 2.1/6), "Big Brother" (6.2 million, 2.3/6), a repeat of "Cold Case" (7.4 million, 1.9/5) and "Dexter" (6.9 million, 2.0/5).

Fourth-place NBC had a two-hour "Dateline" (7.4 million, 1.9/5), "Deal or No Deal" (8.7 million, 2.3/5) and the time-period premiere of "Law & Order: SVU" (8.1 million, 2.1/6).

The CW aired a mix of comedies and repeats (averaging 1.3 million, 0.5/1).

On Friday, round two between the new end-of-week game shows went to CBS. The second episode of "The Price Is Right Million Dollar Spectacular" was Friday's highest-rated show. NBC's "Amnesia," which also premiered the week before, fell sharply.

"Price" (9.5 million total viewers, 2.2 adults 18 to 49 rating and a 7 share) and "Amnesia" (5.1 million, 1.3/4) air head-to-head at 8 p.m. and both lost some ground. But "Price" fell only 12% to lead the night while "Amnesia" dropped 46% and was Friday night's second-lowest-rated show.