Rachel and Ben Rachel and Ben

The Bachelor's Season 16 premiere averaged some 7.74 million viewers, down about 13 percent compared with a year ago, and its 2.4 rating among industry-prized 18-to-49-year-olds marked a 17 percent decline, preliminary Nielsen data shows.

Catch up on The Bachelor with our recap of Week 1

ABC as well as CBS and NBC apparently figured that folks were recovered enough from their New Year's revelry to watch all-new lineups, as Two and a Half Men returned to its customary post as Monday night's most-watched show (with the highest demo). ABC's sneak peek of Celebrity Wife Swap lured 6.3 million people (2.4 rating) — well shy of Castle's usual audience size this season in prime time's final hour, although the demo was comparable.

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And more than a footnote: basic-cable numbers always come in later, and they're likely to show large audiences for ESPN's coverage of the Rose Bowl and Fiesta Bowl — both of which turned out to be down-to-the-wire, high-scoring games.

8 p.m.
CBS: How I Met Your Mother 10.22 million viewers (3.9 demo rating); 2 Broke Girls 12.05 million (4.6)
ABC: The Bachelor 7.74 million (2.4) {8-10 p.m.}
Fox: House [rerun] 3.68 million (1.2)
NBC: Who's Still Standing? 5.57 million (1.5)
CW: The Secret Circle [rerun] 992,000 (0.3)

9 p.m.
CBS: Two and a Half Men 13.79 million viewers (4.4 demo rating); Mike & Molly 11.93 million (3.8)
NBC: Fear Factor 5.90 million (2.4)
Fox: House [rerun] 3.83 million (1.2)
CW: The Secret Circle [rerun] 790,000 (0.3)

10 p.m.
CBS: Hawaii Five-0 11.73 million viewers (2.9 demo rating)
ABC: Celebrity Wife Swap 6.27 million (2.4)
NBC: Rock Center with Brian Williams 3.85 million (1.2)