CBS won Monday night -- the first Monday of the new season -- with a strong showing for its mix of sitcoms and dramas, while ABC and NBC battled for long-form debut supremacy with the debuts of Dancing with the Stars and Heroes, respectively, both down from last season’s launch numbers.
CBS averaged a 4.5/11 in the demo for a solid lineup that never dipped below a 3.5 rating. After Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother rose to a 4/10, followed by a 5.3/12 for Two and a Half Men, a to-die-for rating for the waning sitcom genre. CBS' new series, Worst Week, had the lowest rating of the night for CBS, a 3.8/9, still a solid performance in sitcom land. CBS closed the deal with CSI: Miami, which averaged a 5.1/12 from 10 p.m.-11 p.m. to win the time period over the second hour of Heroes (4.9/12).
The network said it was its first 18-49 Monday win since 2002, its best-ever premiere numbers for How I Met Your Mother and the best premiere numbers for Men since 2004.
It was actually wall-to-wall Heroes for the season premiere on NBC, but the one-hour countdown show and two-hour premiere came in second head-to-head against ABC's premiere of Dancing from 9 p.m.-10 p.m. and CBS' CSI: Miami from 10 p.m.-11 p.m. Heroes did win the 9 p.m.-11 p.m. time period with a 4.9/12 versus a 4.8/11 for CBS and a 3.9/9 for ABC.
NBC pointed out that the Dancing number was a time-period rating and got a boost from the inclusion of the rating for the ESPN Monday Night Football contest between the New York Jets and San Diego Chargers, which aired on the ABC affiliates in those markets.
In the overnights, Stars/MNF averaged a 5.3/13 over its 8 p.m.-10 p.m. two-hour debut, while Heroes averaged a 5/12 for its 9 p.m.-11 p.m. premiere. The one-hour Heroes countdown show from 8 p.m.-9 p.m. came in third with a 2.6/7 behind Dancing and Big Bang Theory on CBS (3.6/10).
Both Heroes and Dancing were down from their debuts in 2007. Dancing averaged a 5.8/15 for its 90-minute premiere last season, while Heroes earned a 7.3/17 for its one-hour debut from 9 p.m.-10 p.m. last season.
ABC was second on the night in the overnights with a 4.3/11 thanks to Dancing. NBC was third with a 4.1/10. Boston Legal recorded a 2.2/6 for the debut of its final season on the network.
Fox followed with a 2.4/6 for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Prison Break, followed by a 1.5/4 for The CW.