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October 15, 2008

Ratings: 'Stone' soft, 'NCIS' rises, 'Knocks' drops

Eli_stone The second season premiere of ABC's "Eli Stone" hit an all-too-familiar note for returning shows this fall, dropping significantly compared with prior benchmarks.

"Stone" (8.8 million, 2.2 preliminary adults 18-49 rating and a 6 share) was down 45% from its year-ago Thursday premiere and down slightly from the premiere of "Boston Legal" in the time period last year. The show also dropped 20% during its second half hour.

ABC notes "Stone" drew its second-largest audience ever for a regular telecast and was higher rated than the show's last four episodes of its first season. Reviews of the second season have also been reasonably positive and yesterday the network ordered four more scripts of the show.

Last week, the Tuesday lineup was largely pre-empted because of the presidential debate, so one would expect some shows to come back a bit rattled last night. Fox readily won the night with "House" (12.8 million, 5.1/14) -- the highest-rated show of the night -- and "Fringe" (9.5 million, 4.1/10), though both were down just slightly from their last airing. 

NBC was second, with "The Biggest Loser" (7.5 million, 3.0/8) and "Law & Order: SVU" (9.4 million, 3.7/10) down a tenth each.

Third-place CBS opened strong with "NCIS" (17.9 million, 3.8/11). Like Fox's "Bones" this season, "NCIS" is an oft-overlooked procedural growing unexpectedly strong in an early time period. "NCIS" increased slightly yet again this week to hit a season high -- the show's best rating since last November, in fact -- and ranked as the most-watched show of the night.

But the third episode of the CBS' fair-haired fall hope "The Mentalist" (14.9 million, 3.4/8) slipped a couple notches, as did "Without a Trace" (11 million, 2.5/7). Still, everybody expects "Mentalist" to get picked up for a full season, and soon.

In fourth, ABC opened the night with "Opportunity Knocks" (5.3 million, 1.3/4), down 28% from its last airing. The game show is now trading in the range that you’d expect to prompt a schedule change, though that also depends on what ABC has in the pipeline. At 9 p.m., "Dancing With the Stars" (14.4 million, 3.2/8) was down slightly from last week.

The CW aired repeats.


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