TV ratings: 'Dancing with the Stars' opens big Monday

evan-lysacek-dwts0323.jpgFast National ratings for Monday, March 22, 2010

The premiere of the 10th "Dancing with the Stars" scored big ratings for ABC Monday night -- big enough to potentially challenge "American Idol" for the week's most-watched show.

"Dancing" was way up from its fall debut and also helped lead-out "Castle" score some of its highest ratings ever. CBS and NBC, meanwhile, took hits to their usual numbers.

ABC averaged 20.2 million viewers and a 12.7 rating/20 share for the night, finishing well ahead of CBS' 11 million viewers and 6.8/11. FOX (6.8 million, 4.2/6) came in third. NBC took fourth with 5.2 million viewers and a 3.3/5, and The CW (1.9 million, 1.3/2) trailed.

ABC also dominated the adults 18-49 demographic with a 5.4 rating. CBS finished a healthy second at 3.9. FOX's 2.2 was good for third, beating out NBC's 1.7 and The CW's 0.9.

Monday hour by hour:

8 p.m.

ABC:
"Dancing with the Stars" season premiere (22.6 million viewers, 14.1/22 households)
CBS: "How I Met Your Mother" (8.5 million, 5.3/8)/"Rules of Engagement" (8.5 million, 5.3/8)
NBC: "Chuck" (5.4 million, 3.3/5)
FOX: "House" rerun (5.1 million, 3.3/5)
The CW: "Life Unexpected" (2 million, 1.3/2)

18-49 leader: "Dancing with the Stars" (5.8)

9 p.m.

ABC:
"Dancing with the Stars" season premiere (25.1 million, 15.6/23)
CBS: "Two and a Half Men" (14.4 million, 8.6/13)/"The Big Bang Theory" (13.4 million, 7.9/12)
FOX: "24" (8.5 million, 5.2/8)
NBC: "Trauma" (4.3 million, 2.7/4)
The CW: "Gossip Girl" (1.9 million, 1.2/2)

18-49 leader: "Dancing with the Stars" (6.9)

10 p.m.

ABC:
"Castle" (12.9 million, 8.4/14)
CBS: "CSI: Miami" (10.7 million, 6.8/12)
NBC: "Law & Order" (5.9 million, 3.8/6)

18-49 leader: "Castle" (3.6)

Ratings information includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are preliminary and subject to change. Source: The Nielsen Company.

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Photo credit: ABC