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Ratings: 'NCIS,' 'Dancing With the Stars' rule yet again

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Sweeps is all about the big surprises, but Tuesday night was rather predictable — in the ratings, at least. CBS ruled the evening once again, according to overnight data, with NCIS winning the 8 p.m. hour with 18 million viewers, down 4 percent from last week’s series high but still 5 million viewers ahead of second-place House. The Fox drama’s 13 million matched its own week-to-week ratings while besting ABC’s Dancing With the Stars recap (11.8 million), NBC’s The Biggest Loser: Families (7.2 million for the first half of its two-hour slot), and The CW’s 90210 (2.9 million).

ABC made up some ground in the 9 p.m. hour with the Dancing With the Stars results show. Watched by 17.5 million fans — up 1 million from last week — it was the highest-rated DWTS-elimination episode this season in both total viewers and adults 18-49. (Look for that record to fall with next week’s season finale.) Meanwhile, CBS’ The Mentalist continued its strong freshman run with 15.8 million viewers, down 4 percent from last week’s season high. Fox’s Fringe rebounded with 9.4 million, up 9 percent from its previous week. NBC’s Biggest Loser audience grew to an average 8.5 million in its second hour. And The CW’s Privileged crowd shrunk to 1.6 million, a 15 percent drop from its last original episode.

CBS regained the top spot in the 10 p.m. hour with Without a Trace, which nabbed 11.9 million viewers. The drama was, however, down 3 percent from last week. Perhaps those missing persons could be found watching NBC’s Law & Order: SVU, which grabbed 10.2 million (up 8 percent week-to-week). If you’re looking for ABC’s Eli Stone, it’s in the basement as usual; its 6.9 million viewers is down 2 percent from last week.

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