'Glee,' 'NCIS,' 'Detroit 1-8-7': Tuesday night ratings fight

tuesday-ratings-battle.jpgTuesday nights this fall won't look a whole lot different from last fall; only four new shows are debuting on the broadcast networks on Tuesdays, and most of the shows that aired on Tuesday last year are back for another round.

Because of that, there's not likely to be a ton of upheaval in the ratings. But there's still room for a couple of surprises. Let's break it down.

(Note: What we're about to discuss will refer to the networks' regular Tuesday lineups; two shows, ABC's "No Ordinary Family" and CBS' "The Good Wife," make their debuts Sept. 28.)

The heavyweight(s): "NCIS" was the most-watched scripted show on TV last season, drawing better than 18 million viewers per week. There's little reason to think any of its 8 p.m. ET competitors ("Glee," "No Ordinary Family," "The Biggest Loser" and "One Tree Hill") will challenge that supremacy this fall.

However, it's highly likely that "Glee" will emerge as the time period's leader among younger viewers, specifically the adults 18-49 demographic that FOX and a lot of the business uses as the yardstick for success. The two final episodes of "Glee" in June (after "American Idol" ended) averaged about 10.5 million viewers and a 4.3 rating in the 18-49 demo; our guess is it will stay in that neighborhood in the fall.

The veterans: The "Dancing With the Stars" results show and "The Biggest Loser" are solid performers for ABC and NBC; so are "NCIS: Los Angeles" and "The Good Wife" for CBS. That's probably not going to change much.

The newbies: Of the four new shows on the Tuesday slate, ABC's "Detroit 1-8-7" probably has the best chance of success. It has a pretty good lead-in in "DWTS," and while "The Good Wife" is strong, it's not so huge that it eclipses everything else. "No Ordinary Family" will have to find a niche against pretty strong 8 o'clock competition, while FOX has to hope some "Glee" fans stick around for the comedy duo of "Raising Hope" and "Running Wilde." The FOX shows are at least counterprogramming against drama and reality on the other nets.

The wildcard: We're not sure there is one, frankly. Things feel more cut-and-dried on Tuesdays than most other nights of the week.

The DVR factor: NBC's "Parenthood" got a pretty big bump from DVR use last spring, growing its audience by more than 25 percent in both viewers and the demo. "Glee" also grew significantly, and "NCIS" routinely added 2 million viewers to its total -- but because its audience was already big, its percentage gain wasn't as great. Given their competition, we can also see "No Ordinary Family" and the FOX comedies being DVR'd pretty extensively.

What will you be watching on Tuesdays, and what are you saving for later?

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Photo credits: FOX, CBS, ABC