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Primetime Ratings: House, Fringe Down But Still Tops

Fox's veteran ratings-getter, House, and new drama, Fringe, were down from last week but remained sufficiently strong to give the network the victory in the 18-49 demo, according to Nielsen Media Research overnight numbers.

The ratings drop was expected, with other networks rolling out their new shows for the beginning of the fall season.

House was the night's top show, averaging a 4.9/14 in its new 8 p.m.-9 p.m. time period. That was down from the 5.5/16 it pulled for its new-season debut last week. Fringe averaged a 4.2/10, off a full rating point from the 5.2/13 it averaged last week but a rating point above two weeks ago, before it had a new House episode for a lead-in.

On the night, Fox averaged a 4.5/12 in the demo.

ABC was second with a 3.7/10 thanks to the second of three outings this week for the new flight of Dancing with the Stars. The two-hour dance-off recorded a 4.7/12. The debut of Opportunity Knocks, ABC's new reality game show, from 8 p.m.-9 p.m. did not draw much of a crowd, averaging a 1.8/5 to bring down ABC’s average.

CBS edged NBC for third with a 3.3/9, led by new series The Mentalist with a 3.5/9 from 9 p.m.-10 p.m. NBC was fourth with a 3.2/8, led by Law & Order: Special Victims Unit with a 3.7/10 from 10 p.m.-11 p.m.

The CW averaged a 1.2/3, led by its new version of 90210 at a 1.5/4, down significantly from the 2.6 rating it recorded in its debut, a record debut rating for the network.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.