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May 07, 2009

Melissa Rycroft's return boosts 'Dancing'; new hope for 'Castle'

\ Melissa Rycroft Dancing The return of Melissa Rycroft to ABC's Dancing With the Stars helped boost the show's ratings after the reality contestant was sidelined with three broken ribs last week. Rycroft's re-entry was given added drama when fellow contestant Jewel, who was forced to withdraw from the competition earlier this season due to an injury, criticized the show for allowing Rycroft to be judged based on rehearsal footage last week.

"As bad as I felt for Melissa, who I hope feels better and comes back, I'm used to our cowboy athletes that live by the rule: 'ride hurt or don't get a score,' " the country singer wrote. "It may seem harsh, but it seems like the only way to keep things honest. If you're too hurt to compete then you can't compete."

She later added: “I think the rule about ‘judging a rehearsal if the person is too injured to perform’ was weird both times they have used it.”

On Monday, Rycroft returned live to the show and drew a perfect score without so much as a tell-tale wince. In the ratings, the two-hour Dancing (20.3 million viewers, 4.8 national adults 18-49 rating) was up 11% from last week to its best number since early April.

Another headline Monday: Detective drama Castle (10 million, 2.8), which rose for the third week in a row to hit its best number since mid-March.

Castle rose a sharp 40% this week, benefiting from a direct lead-in from Dancing rather than having to wait for Surviving Suburbia to drive away all the viewers. This is the third consecutive week of growth for the freshman detective drama. Even considering the obvious help of the large Dancing lead in, if Castle holds a similar number next week, chances of a second season slide from uncertain to probable.

ABC won the night. CBS and Fox tied for second. Fox's House (12.1 million, 4.6) and 24 (10.1 million, 3.3) were on par. CBS' comedy lineup was up slightly with Big Bang Theory (9.3 million, 3.4), How I Met Your Mother (8.9 million, 3.6), Two and a Half Men (14.2 million, 5.0) and Rules of Engagement (11.3 million, 4.1). CBS' CSI: Miami (13.7 million, 4.0) climbed significantly this week.

On NBC, it seems viewers didn't much miss Deal or No Deal (4.4 million, 1.2). The game show returned to primetime to its lowest Monday rating ever, followed by a two-hour Medium (7.2 million, 2.2) that matched its lowest ever. On the CW, Gossip Girl (2.2 million, 1.1) and One Tree Hill (2.2 million, 1.1) were on par.

Nielsen ratings release schedule update: Tuesday night's numbers will be available this afternoon. Wednesday will be released tomorrow morning. And Thursday will be available tomorrow afternoon. And after that, "the normal delivery schedule resumes."



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