For sitcoms, many happy post-strike returns


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 preliminary adults 18-49 rating/11 share) matched it season premiere rating. "How I Met Your Mother" (9.7 million, 4.3/11), "Two and a Half Men" (14.0 million, 5.4/13) and "The New Adventures of Old Christine" (11.4 million, 4.3/11) all hit a season highs. The sitcoms were followed by a "CSI: Miami" repeat (9.6 million, 3.0/8).

The news should give broadcast networks a sigh of 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 the series a pickup.

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

The 90-minute "Dancing" led into the premiere of "The Bachelor: London Calling" (9.0 million, 3.3/9). Both ABC reality shows were down slightly from the fall's premieres. Compared with last spring, "Dancing" was down 14% and "Bachelor" down 11%. Still, "Dancing" remained the highest-rated show of the night, and "Bachelor" won the 10 p.m. hour.

NBC came in third with its "My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad" (4.7 million, 1.5/4) sinking to a red-line 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).