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'NCIS' blasts competition; 'Mentalist' starts strong

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It may not get a lot of media attention or garner a lot of buzz, but CBS’ NCIS is a consistent winner in the ratings, and last night proved no different. The Mark Harmon series premiered to 17.8 million viewers, according to overnight ratings, winning the 8-9 p.m. time slot. NCIS actually seemed to take a bite out of House‘s audience, which dropped from last week’s premiere of 14.4 million to 12.1 million this week. Meanwhile, even with some stiff competition, CBS’ new drama The Mentalist, starring Simon Baker (pictured), debuted to an impressive 15.6 million.

Elsewhere,  ABC’s new game show Opportunity Knocks got knocked on its butt with a debut of only 6.7 million; The CW’s controversial 90210 dipped about 10 percent from last week‘s 3.3 million to 3 million; and NBC’s weight loss competition, The Biggest Loser: Families, dipped to 7.2 million, down from last week’s premiere of 7.8 million.

The rest of the night was pretty much dominated by ABC’s behemoth Dancing With the Stars.

Comedian Jeffrey Ross was dismissed, but the dancing show still saw 18.2

million viewers. All of the new debuts, though, caused Fox’s sci-fi drama Fringe

to drop 28 percent from last week’s audience of 13.4 million; this week,

the Joshua Jackson series nabbed just 9.7 million. Even more

disappointing were the numbers for The CW’s charming Privileged at 1.9 million, down 500,000 viewers from last week’s premiere of 2.4 million.

In the 10 p.m. hour, Without a Trace premiered in its new

Tuesday night time slot with 11.4 million viewers, down about 32 percent from

last year’s premiere, although that was when Trace was still on Thursdays and benefited from CSI‘s lead-in. Also taking a drop was NBC’s Law & Order: SVU, which only saw 9.6 million viewers, down from last year’s premiere of 12.1 million.

addCredit(“Lance Staedler/CBS”)

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Gillian Flynn’s review of The Mentalist

Ausiello Files: Meet Gibbs’ new team on NCIS

The long, winding career of Mark Harmon

Gillian Flynn’s review of Fringe


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