ABC re-aired the holiday classic Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town last night but the bearded fellow got trampled by CBS’ NCIS, according to preliminary overnight ratings. The Christmas special reached 9 million viewers while the Mark Harmon drama more than doubled that number with 18.6 million. CBS won Tuesday yet again by continuing its winning streak at 9 p.m. with rookie drama The Mentalist scoring a huge 18.8 million viewers, a boost of almost 3 million watchers from last week’s airing. (The likely reason for the big jump in eyes? Last week, The Mentalist was up against the Dancing With the Stars finale.) At 10 p.m., Without a Trace also bounced back in the ratings with 12.4 million viewers vs. last week’s 10.4 million.
ABC’s night got progressively worse after Santa came to town. The return of According to Jim was met with the equivalent of ratings crickets; its back-to-back episodes starting at 9 p.m. averaged only 5.9 million folks. And, at 10 p.m., the canceled Eli Stone dropped like a stone with a weak 4.9 million. Over at Fox, House delivered an almost equal number to last week’s (12.4 million viewers). At 9 p.m., Fringe similarly mirrored its previous number, with 8.7 million people once again tuning in to watch dreamy Joshua Jackson investigate spooky things. NBC also benefited from the absence of Dancing With the Stars. The Biggest Loser: Families rebounded from last week’s low 6.8 million back up to 8.7 million, a 28 percent increase. The same was true for Law & Order: SVU which gained 1.8 million viewers from last week to rate 10.3 million viewers for last night’s episode. And on The CW, repeats of both 90210 (1.2 million) and Privileged (900k) both pretty much tanked.