By James Hibberd
Updated December 13, 2011 at 05:25 PM EST

Fear Factor came back strong. After a six-year hiatus, the reality veteran matched NBC’s best non-sports number in the 8 p.m. hour since February 2008.

Fear Factor ran as two separate hours, the first at 8 p.m. (8.7 million viewers, 3.2 preliminary adults 18-49 rating) and second at 9 p.m. (8.5 million, 3.5). Notice ratings climbed from the first episode to the second, a good sign (here’s our Q&A with host Joe Rogan). Fear Factor beat on broadcast everything except for the high-flying CBS comedies. Fear Factor also boosted NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams (4 million, 1.1) rating, though that number is still dreadful. With other networks peppering their lineup with specials and repeats, NBC managed a second-place victory for the evening.

And what about Fox’s Terra Nova? The sci-fi drama (7 million, 2.1) was down one tenth from two weeks ago, which isn’t much considering it took a week off while going into the holidays. But the show is on the bubble for a renewal and right now every tenth counts. Here’s our recap, “Cry Me a Bucket.”

CBS won the night, trying out 2 Broke Girls (12.5 million, 4.1) at 8 p.m., and it delivered a great start-of-night number. With a repeat leading into Two and a Half Men (14.7 million, 4.6), the flagship dipped this week, as did Mike & Molly (12.8 million, 3.9) and Hawaii Five-0 (10.9 million, 2.8).

Read more:

‘Fear Factor’ is ‘way grosser’ than before, says Joe Rogan

‘Terra Nova’ recap: Cry Me a Bucket

Gorillas in the Christmastime: What did you think of last night’s ‘Two and a Half Men’?