March 18, 2008 / 10:14 PM / in 10 years

For sitcoms, many happy post-strike returns

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The sitcoms are back -- and viewers have returned with them. The first scripted productions to resume their broadcast runs since the writers’ strike ended were rewarded with some of their highest ratings all season.

<p>Neil Patrick Harris (L) and Alyson Hannigan of the comedy series "How I Met Your Mother" pose with a People's Choice Award prior to announcing the nominations for the People's Choice Awards at a news conference in Beverly Hills, California, November 7, 2006. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>

CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” (9.1 million viewers, 3.7 preliminary adults 18-49 rating/11 share) matched its season premiere rating. “How I Met Your Mother” (9.7 million, 4.3/11), “Two and a Half Men” (14.0 million, 5.4/13) and “The New Adventures of Old Christine” (11.4 million, 4.3/11) all hit season highs. The sitcoms were followed by a “CSI: Miami” repeat (9.6 million, 3.0/8).

The news should give broadcast networks a sigh of relief. The industry expected the four-month strike to result in viewership declines for returning shows. The strong ratings for “Mother,” which has yet to be renewed for the fall, should help ensure a pickup for the series.

Even with the comedies’ triumphant comeback, CBS was not the highest-rated network Monday night: Reality still held sway over most viewers, with the season premiere of “Dancing With the Stars” (20.9 million, 5.5/15) leading ABC to win over CBS (ABC’s 14.9 million, 4.4/12 to CBS’ 10.6 million, 3.9/10).

The 90-minute “Dancing” led into the premiere of “The Bachelor: London Calling” (9.0 million, 3.3/9). Both ABC reality shows were down slightly from their fall premieres. Compared with last spring, “Dancing” was down 14 percent and “Bachelor” down 11 percent. Still, “Dancing” remained the highest-rated show of the night, and “Bachelor” won the 10 p.m. hour.

NBC came in third with its “My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad” (4.7 million, 1.5/4) sinking to a red-line season low, then “Deal or No Deal” (10 million, 2.9/7) and “Medium” (9.9 million, 3.2/9).

In fourth, Fox aired “Canterbury’s Law” (5.6 million, 1.7/5) and “New Amsterdam” (7.2 million, 2.3/6).

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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