Monday ratings breakdown: What the heck happened to 'Lone Star'?

james-wolk-lone-star-fox-zc.jpgA lot of reviews and stories written about "Lone Star" prior to its premiere mentioned that it had the feel of a cable show.

Unfortunately for FOX, so did its ratings.

Despite widespread critical praise and a pretty decent promotional push from the network, the "Lone Star" premiere drew only 4.1 million viewers Monday night (Sept. 20). Yes, it was up against some well-established competition ( "Dancing With the Stars" and CBS' comedy block) and another heavily hyped new show ( "The Event"), but its weak performance is a bit of a shock.

The show bled more than half of its lead-in viewers from "House" (10.7 million), and in the adults 18-49 demographic, which FOX uses to measure success, "Lone Star" drew an anemic 1.3 rating. That's less than a third of "House's" 4.2 demo rating. It will undoubtedly gain some when DVR numbers are released in a couple weeks, but it would need to practically double its audience -- a pretty unlikely scenario -- to stay viable for the network.

Other notes from the first official night of the 2010-11 season:

- CBS saw both of its new series perform pretty well. "Hawaii Five-0" (14.2 million viewers) and "Mike & Molly" (12.2 million) were the two most-watched new shows of the night, and they each drew a 3.9 rating in the 18-49 demo, also tops among newcomers. "Two and a Half Men" scored 14.6 million viewers and a 4.9 rating among adults 18-49, both up from last season's premiere.

- NBC got a promising start from "The Event," which averaged 10.9 million viewers and a 3.6 rating among adults 18-49. That's way up over the time-period average last year ("Trauma" and "Heroes"), but the best news for NBC is that the show grew from its first half to its second. That's a sign that viewers were willing to stick with its twisty narrative.

- Elsewhere on NBC, "Chuck" (5.8 million viewers, 2.0 in 18-49) was up a bit from its final episodes last season (although down from its season premiere in January), while "Chase" (7.3 million, 2.3 in the demo) was unspectacular but improved on the network's time-period average from last season ("The Jay Leno Show" and "Law & Order"), Olympics coverage excluded.

- "Dancing With the Stars" (21.3 million viewers, 5.1 in 18-49) improved significantly on its fall 2009 debut in leading ABC to the night's top spot (although it wasn't as strong as the premiere of the spring 2010 edition). The big "Dancing" numbers also helped "Castle" (10.7 million, 2.7) make significant gains over its 2009 debut.

- Despite the heavier competition, both "90210" and "Gossip Girl" were pretty much even with their premieres last week. That said, neither show broke 2 million viewers.

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Photo credit: FOX


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