NEW YORK - During the week leading up to the opening of the new television season, "Dancing With the Stars" made a strong return, Katie Couric won again and Fox's "Happy Hour" appears anything but.
"Dancing With the Stars" was the week's most popular program with 20.2 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. The follow-up results episode, where Tucker Carlson was voted off the dance floor, also did well and enabled ABC to win the week's ratings crown.
The hoofers did better than the first episode of CBS' "Survivor," seen by 18 million people. The 13th edition of the CBS game is being closely watched because, at least at first, its four teams are being divided along racial and ethnic lines.
By a whisker-thin margin, Katie Couric won her second week in a row in the evening news ratings. Couric's "CBS Evening News" averaged 7.88 million viewers last week, while NBC's "Nightly News" had 7.83 (both 5.5 rating, 11 share) and ABC's "World News" had 7.5 million viewers (5.3, 11).
Even though the new TV season didn't officially start until Monday, several programs got a head start. That's not always a good thing: "Happy Hour," with 5.4 million viewers last Thursday, is near the bottom of the ratings already. TV fans logging on to a contest on Bravo's "Brilliant But Cancelled" Web site predict "Happy Hour" will be the first new show to be axed this fall.
In the new season's first big showdown Monday (not included in last week's ratings), NBC's highly touted "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" was sampled by 13.4 million viewers. Competitor "CSI: Miami" on CBS had 17.2 million. While NBC's new Aaron Sorkin drama shaved two million viewers from last year's "CSI: Miami" premiere, CBS pointed out that "Studio 60" had a steep drop-off in its second half-hour, an ominous sign of viewer restlessness.
Last week, ABC averaged 9.4 million viewers (6.2 rating, 11 share). CBS was second with 9.2 million (6.0, 10) but, unusually, won in the 18-to-49-year-old demographic due to its reality shows. NBC had 7.9 million (5.3, 9), Fox had 7.2 million (4.6, 8), the WB had 1.6 million (1.1, 2), UPN had 910,000 (0.6, 1) and the i network had 590,000 (0.2, 1).
Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision averaged 3.5 million viewers (2.0, 3), Telemundo had 960,000 (0.6, 1) and TeleFutura had 650,000 (0.4, 1).
A ratings point represents 1,102,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 110.2 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.
For the week of Sept. 11-17, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "Dancing With the Stars" (Tuesday), ABC, 20.22 million; NFL Football: Washington at Dallas, NBC, 18.41 million; "Survivor: Cook Island," CBS, 18 million; "Dancing With the Stars" (Wednesday), 16.23 million; "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," CBS, 15.59 million; "House," Fox, 15.22 million; "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (Thursday, 10 p.m.), CBS, 14.69 million; "NFL Post Game Show," CBS, 13.64 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 13.13 million; "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (Sunday, 9 p.m.), ABC, 12.09 million.