For sitcoms, many happy post-strike returns

Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:11pm EDT

Neil Patrick Harris (L) and Alyson Hannigan of the comedy series ''How I Met Your Mother'' pose with a People's Choice Award prior to announcing the nominations for the People's Choice Awards at a news conference in Beverly Hills, California, November 7, 2006. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Neil Patrick Harris (L) and Alyson Hannigan of the comedy series ''How I Met Your Mother'' pose with a People's Choice Award prior to announcing the nominations for the People's Choice Awards at a news conference in Beverly Hills, California, November 7, 2006.

Credit: Reuters/Fred Prouser

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The sitcoms are back -- and viewers have returned with them. The first scripted productions to resume their broadcast runs since the writers' strike ended were rewarded with some of their highest ratings all season.

CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" (9.1 million viewers, 3.7 preliminary adults 18-49 rating/11 share) matched its season premiere rating. "How I Met Your Mother" (9.7 million, 4.3/11), "Two and a Half Men" (14.0 million, 5.4/13) and "The New Adventures of Old Christine" (11.4 million, 4.3/11) all hit season highs. The sitcoms were followed by a "CSI: Miami" repeat (9.6 million, 3.0/8).

The news should give broadcast networks a sigh of relief. The industry expected the four-month strike to result in viewership declines for returning shows. The strong ratings for "Mother," which has yet to be renewed for the fall, should help ensure a pickup for the series.

Even with the comedies' triumphant comeback, CBS was not the highest-rated network Monday night: Reality still held sway over most viewers, with the season premiere of "Dancing With the Stars" (20.9 million, 5.5/15) leading ABC to win over CBS (ABC's 14.9 million, 4.4/12 to CBS' 10.6 million, 3.9/10).

The 90-minute "Dancing" led into the premiere of "The Bachelor: London Calling" (9.0 million, 3.3/9). Both ABC reality shows were down slightly from their fall premieres. Compared with last spring, "Dancing" was down 14 percent and "Bachelor" down 11 percent. Still, "Dancing" remained the highest-rated show of the night, and "Bachelor" won the 10 p.m. hour.

NBC came in third with its "My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad" (4.7 million, 1.5/4) sinking to a red-line season low, then "Deal or No Deal" (10 million, 2.9/7) and "Medium" (9.9 million, 3.2/9).

In fourth, Fox aired "Canterbury's Law" (5.6 million, 1.7/5) and "New Amsterdam" (7.2 million, 2.3/6).

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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