September 17, 2008 at 12:00 PM EDT

The glass was either half full or half empty regarding Tuesday-night ratings for Fox. On the plus side, the season premiere of House (in its new 8 p.m. time slot) led all shows for the night with an average 14.4 million viewers in the overnights, and the network’s freshman series Fringe (from creator J.J. Abrams) retained 93 percent of its House lead-in, with 13.4 million viewers. Better still, episode 2 of Fringe boasted 4.4 million more eyes than the show’s two-hour premiere got last week (not counting its Sunday night encore). True, Fringe (and its super groovy title cards) clearly benefited last night by following Hugh Laurie’s established medical hit, but the folks at Fox have to be happy. The one troubling bit of data regarding the latter show, however, was the fact that House‘s numbers were off year to year. The season 4 premiere drew a final figure of 18.3 million, and last night’s overnights represent a 21 percent dip.(Do be sure to check out EW’s recent House cover story, as well as our Best and Worst Gallery of House‘s fourth season.)

Or to put it a different way, House lost more viewers between its fourth and fifth season premieres than The CW’s much-discussed 90210 snagged in total in the overnights yesterday. One not-negative note was that 90210‘s 3.3 million viewers was dead even with last week’s totals (which slipped 30 percent from the series premiere). Could it be the skin-and-bones physiques of the show’s leading ladies (a hot topic on our PopWatch blog today) are keeping those early viewers from coming back? Following 90210, the second episode of The CW’s Privileged drew 2.4 million viewers, down about 500,000 from last week’s series premiere.

Reality shows dominated the remainder of the prime-time lineup. The Biggest Loser: Families

premiered to an overnight audience of 7.8 million on NBC, and while

that figure was off about 26 percent from the show’s most recent

premiere (10.5 million on New Year’s Day 2008), the program did show

growth over every half hour of its two-hour running time. Meanwhile,

CBS’s season finale of Big Brother 10 — catch Josh Wolk’s Big Brother episode recap here, and

champ here — was up from its season 9 finisher. Last night’s telecast

drew an audience of 7.6 million, while the April 2008 finale drew only

6.4 million.

Reality shows dominated the remainder of the prime-time lineup. The Biggest Loser: Familiespremiered to an overnight audience of 7.8 million on NBC, and whilethat figure was off about 26 percent from the show’s most recentpremiere (10.5 million on New Year’s Day 2008), the program did showgrowth over every half hour of its two-hour running time. Meanwhile,CBS’s season finale of Big Brother 10 — catch Josh Wolk’s Big Brother episode recap here, and Lynette Rice’s exit interview with the Big Brother 10champ here — was up from its season 9 finisher. Last night’s telecastdrew an audience of 7.6 million, while the April 2008 finale drew only6.4 million.

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