Courteney Cox and Busy Phillips Courteney Cox and Busy Phillips

Can we give the Cougar Town crew an A for trying?

Despite the cast and producers' valiant guerrilla marketing effort for the long-delayed third season, the comedy returned Tuesday to 4.8 million viewers and a 1.8 rating in the adults 18-to-49 demo — both series lows.

Social TV: Cougar Town creator offers ponies, drunken raves to loyal fans

The silver lining? The show suffered relatively small drops in both measures — 4 and 10 percent, respectively — from the Season 2 finale (when it aired on Wednesdays after Modern Family

) and posted the highest retention rate out of Last Man Standing (82 percent) all season. Still, Cougar Town's premiere numbers are below those of the timeslot's previous (and now-canceled) occupants Man Up and Work It.CBS won the night, powered by NCIS, which drew 19.4 million viewers and a 3.9 rating.8 p.m.
NCIS 19.4 million viewers (3.9 demo rating)ABC: Last Man Standing 7.6 million (2.2); Cougar Town 4.8 million (1.8)Fox: Glee 6.9 million (2.8)NBC: The Biggest Loser  5.8 million (2.0) [8-10 p.m.]CW: Hart of Dixie (R) 0.7 million (0.3)9 p.m.
CBS: NCIS: Los Angeles 16 million viewers (3.2)ABC: The River 4.9 million (1.7) Fox: New Girl 6.6 million (3.2); Raising Hope 4.68 million (2.1)CW: Ringer 1.07 million (0.3)10 p.m.
CBS: Unforgettable 10.9 million viewers (2.0)ABC: Body of Proof 6.1 million (1.2)NBC: Parenthood 4.4 million (1.6)