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Primetime Ratings: 'Dancing With the Stars' Dominates

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

Dancing With the Stars dominated on the first night of the fall season, trampling the competition in the and 8 and 9 p.m. timeslots. The series premieres of CBS' Mike & Molly and Hawaii Five-O and NBC's big-budget thriller The Event put up respectable numbers. But Fox's Lone Star was DOA in the competitive 9 p.m. time period.

Bristol Palin kicked off premiere week with a strip-tease (albeit G-rated) on ABC's Dancing with the Stars. Palin, and fellow Dancing contender Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino probably helped DWTS get back up to its traditional fall premiere levels. And the show dominated the 8-10 p.m. hours, averaging a 5.0 rating among adults 18-49, according to preliminary data from Nielsen.

But, caveat alert: though DWTS was up 22% in the demo year-to-year, last year's September premiere was a nadir for the show. Castle finished second in the 10 p.m. slot with a 2.8, up 22% year-to-year.

The season opener of House on Fox was second in the 8 p.m. time period behind DWTS, notching a 4.6. But it was also down 40% year-to-year. And even worse for Fox, new series Lone Star, despite being well-received by critics, sagged to an anemic 1.3 in the 9 p.m. time period. (The week is young, but with numbers that low, Lone Star could be in danger of becoming the first show to get the hook.)

Year-to-year, CBS experienced some erosion -- about 7% -- on Monday night thanks in part to the absence of The Big Bang Theory which moves to Thursdays. The premiere of How I Met Your Mother (3.6) at 8 p.m. was on par versus a year ago and Rules of Engagement at 8:30 p.m.(3.1) held steady while Two And a Half Men (4.8) was up 5% year-to-year. New series Mike & Molly (9:30 p.m.) averaged a 3.9, down 19% from its Men lead-in and 17% in the time slot. At 10 p.m., Hawaii Five-0 easily won the time slot with a 3.8. But the heavily hyped show, which received copious promotion during CBS Sports' NFL telecast on Sunday, was down 12% year-to-year when the season opener of CSI: Miami occupied that slot.

NBC had a net gain on Monday night, up 12% in the demo year-to-year compared to last season when the primetime Jay Leno Show was bringing down the network's average. However, Chuck was lackluster at 8 p.m. with a 2.1. while The Event, at 9 p.m., built on that lead-in, pulling a 3.7 (making it third in the timeslot). Chase was last at 10 p.m. with a 2.5.

Overall, it was not a particularly auspicious start. And Monday Night Football on ESPN, which pulled in more than 15 million viewers, most likely siphoned viewers -- especially men -- away from broadcast television. Collectively, the networks were off 23% compared to last year's Monday premieres. And with 15% decline typical from week one to week two, it could be a long fall for broadcast TV.

In late night, Late Night with David Letterman beat The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in households among Nielsen's 56 metered markets with a 3.1 rating to Leno's 2.8 rating. Letterman's headliner was former President Bill Clinton. However, according to preliminary 18-49 demo numbers, Leno and Letterman tied with a 0.9 rating. ABC's Nightline posted a 1.0 rating in the demo while Jimmy Kimmel Live came in with a 0.6 rating.