Overnight Ratings: ABC Dances to the Top Spot

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Thanks to a strong performance by Dancing with the Stars, ABC won a close race for bragging rights in the 18-49 demo on  Monday night. The network averaged a 4.1 rating/11 share in the Nielsen overnight numbers.

Dancing built up a big enough lead to hold off the return on Heroes on NBC, which averaged a 3.9/10. CBS was a tenth of a rating point behind NBC with a  3.8/10 that was led by CSI: Miami at 10 p.m.

The hour and a half long episode of Dancing  actually beat the first half-hour of Heroes with a 5.5/13 in the demo compared to Heroes 5.2/13. But when it handed the baton to The Bachelor for its hour and a half of primetime, the reality show could only muster a 3.5/8 for its first half hour against Heroes 5.4/13 at 9:30-10 p.m.

CSI was in the driver's seat at 10 p.m. averaging a 5.1/14 to easily beat the last hour of The Bachelor (3.4/9) and a new reality show, The Wedding Crashers, which averaged a 3.1/8. The poorly reviewed Crashers is not to be confused with Fox's scripted drama, The Wedding Belles.

Fox was fourth for Monday night with a 2.8/8. Its top show was 24 at a 3.9/9 which was good enough only for fourth place in a very competitive 9-10 p.m. hour. Fox's new drama, Drive, a kind of scripted take on Amazing Race (as Lost was on Survivor), came in a distant fourth with a 1.8/5 at 8-9. It was unable to beat even a repeat of CBS' How I Met Your Mother. Fox's fortunes are likely to turn Tuesday with the first of two Idol charity specials.

The CW averaged a 1.2/3, led by Everybody Hates Chris (1.3/4).

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