Jerry O'Connell by Bob D'Amico/ABC Jerry O'Connell by Bob D'Amico/ABC

Despite mostly weak reviews, ABC's Carpoolers and its equally critically maligned lead-in show Cavemen managed a solid second place in their respective debuts against CBS' NCIS last week. Considering both shows' lack of good buzz, they each did well in the Nielsens, averaging roughly nine million total viewers. Carpoolers (Tuesdays, 8:30 pm/ET) actually exceeded the network's internal expectations for young and male-skewing demos by about 15 percent.

"We maybe didn't garner as much attention as some other shows out there [before the premiere]," says Carpoolers star Jerry O'Connell, who plays one of four guys who share their ride to work. "Half-hour comedies have to be given a chance, you know? We started off pretty well, so hopefully we can even build on it."

A guest appearance next month by O'Connell's new, real-life bride, Ugly Betty's Rebecca Romijn, in which she'll play his character's ex-wife, couldn't hurt either. "We had some scenes where we had to be physical with each other," says O'Connell, who guest-starred on Ugly Betty last season. "And it was so much fun doing them with your wife because your tongue goes places that you'd never do with [another] actress. If I had done to an actress what I did to Rebecca on the show, I would be in court right now!" - Reporting by Danny Spiegel