A huge premiere for NCIS paved the way for CBS' biggest nightly audience since 1993.
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Twenty million viewers tuned into NCIS, a 28 percent leap from last season's premiere. Spin-off NCIS: Los Angeles benefited from the lead-in, drawing an audience of 18.3 million viewers, a 23 percent improvement over The Mentalist's premiere in that spot a year ago.
The one-two punch of NCIS shows outperformed the other network's two-hour airings. The second night of Dancing with the Stars three-night premiere pulled in 15.2 million viewers for ABC, while NBC's Biggest Loser and Fox's Hell's Kitchen earned 7.5 million and 7 million viewers, respectively. On the CW, 90210 stayed even with 2.2 million viewers, while Melrose Place continued its decline with only 1.5 million viewers.
CBS' newcomer legal drama The Good Wife dropped much of the NCIS:LA lead-in at 10/9c, but was still the hour's most-watched program with 13.7 million viewers. Jay Leno bounced back from its series low Monday with 6.8 million viewers, but still finished third to ABC's Christian Slater-fronted newcomer, The Forgotten, which was watched by 9.5 million viewers.