Primetime Ratings: American Gladiators Comes Out Swinging

Sunday-Night Ratings Strong Across the Board

There was a little something for everyone Sunday night, or at least for ABC, CBS and NBC, in what was essentially a dead heat. NBC got strong numbers from the debut of the return of American Gladiators to the TV dial.

American Gladiators

According to Nielsen Media Research overnight ratings, ABC and CBS tied atop the ratings in the 18-49 demo with a 4.5 rating/11 share, with NBC nipping at their heels at a 4.4/11. Those numbers could change slightly when the national ratings come in.

CBS was led by a mamoth National Football League overrun rating of a 9.4/25 for the first half hour of primetime, thanks to the Tennessee Titans at San Diego Chargers Wild Card playoff game.

Gladiators, a much-hyped reality competition familiar to Baby Boomers, averaged a 5.9/14 from 9 p.m.-11 p.m., good enough for second place from 9 p.m.-10 p.m. behind a new episode of Desperate Housewives and first place from 10 p.m.-11 p.m.

Housewives led ABC with a 7.2/16 from 9 p.m.-10 p.m., while the premiere of Sex in the City-like Cashmere Mafia recorded a second-place 3.8/9 but declined from a 4.1/10 from 10 p.m.-10:30 p.m. leading out of Housewives to a 3.5/9 in its second half-hour.

Fox was a distant fourth at a 2.7/6 for a lineup of animated shows that included three episodes of American Dad (two were repeats), a repeat of King of the Hill and new eipsodes of The Simpsons (Fox's highest-rated show at a 3.9/9) and King of the Hill.

The CW recorded a 0.3/1 for a mix of repeats and new episodes.

Gladiators will come up against some tough competition for the testosterone-laden crowd in its second outing Monday night: Fox's airing of the college-football national-championship game between LSU and Ohio State, as well as some counterprogramming to all of that hitting, the debut of Dance War on ABC.