Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE 2PM: The final Nielsen ratings for last night are in, and the Bristol Palin-fueled Dancing with the Stars (23.7 million, 4.9/13 in adults 18-49) posted the strongest results for a Dancing performance finale in six seasons, since the fifth cycle’s Monday finale in November 2007. (Dancing airs two cycles every broadcast season.) Versus last year, the show was up by 3.3 million viewers and by 23% in 18-49. The strong ratings for Dancing followed a wave of publicity surrounding Palin’s ability to escape elimination despite so-so marks from the judges and make it all the way to the finals. She was also at the center of  several threat s, including one that involved a letter laced with white powder that was received at Dancing‘s production offices over the weekend.  Meanwhile, the premiere of the Dancing spinoff Skating with the Stars wound up with a final tally of 2.4/6 and 9.4 million viewers, holding onto less than 50% of its Dancing lead-in. Other adjustments in the finals: CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 gained a tenth to a 3.3/9, while Fox’s Lie to Me dropped a tenth to a 1.7/5.

PREVIOUS: 10 AM: The performance finale of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars had a big effect on Monday night’s standings. Probably boosted by the controversy surrounding finalist Bristol Palin, it topped the night, sending Fox’s House and NBC’s Chuck to season lows. But, by trimming its air time to 73 minutes from the usual 2-hour, it also gave CBS a big opening. Without Dancing to compete against, the network’s new comedy series Mike & Molly (4.0/10, 13 million) at 9:30 PM was up 8% in the demo from last week and hit all-time highs in both total viewers and adults 18-49. At 10 PM, Hawaii Five-0 (3.2/9, 12.2 million), which faced weaker competition from ABC with Skating with the Stars and no Dancing overrun, was up 14% to post its best demo number in almost 2 months. The 3 CBS comedies that faced Dancing were unaffected: How I Met Your Mother (3.5/10) was flat with its fast-national number last week (the 8 PM comedy regularly adds .1 in the finals as it did last week). Rules of Engagement (2.9/8) and Two and a Half Men (4.5/12, 14.3 million) were also even with their demo performances last week. As a result, CBS (3.5/10) edged ABC (3.4/9) in the demo, a major shift on the night. (ABC still won in total viewers, 15.1 million vs. 11.4 million.) CBS was helped by the underwhelming premiere of ABC’s Dancing spinoff, Skating with the Stars. Because of Dancing‘s irregular running time, exact numbers for the two shows are not available yet but the contrast between their performances is obvious. From 8-9 PM, Dancing (4.7/13) was up 25% from what the dancing competition averaged in the hour last week. Its rating will go up in the finals when the final 13 minutes are factored in. Meanwhile, from 9:30 PM to 11 PM, Skating averaged a 2.2 in 18-49, dropping precipitously throughout (2.7>2.1>1.7). Its rating will also go up a little in the finals when the first 17 minutes that immediately followed Dancing are factored in. In total viewers, ABC lost 8.4 million, a 43% drop, from 9 to 9:30 PM.

Fox’s House (3.4/9) was down 15%, while Lie to Me (1.8/5) was down a tenth. NBC’s Chuck (1.7) was also down a tenth to log its lowest-rated episode ever. The Event (1.7/4) held steady at its series-low level for a third straight week, while fellow freshman Chase (1.4/4), like Hawaii Five-0, took advantage of airing against Skating and not Castle with a 17% rebound from the all-time low it posted for the last couple of weeks. This marked the third consecutive week than no NBC Monday series was able to crack a 2 demo rating, with the network’s high-water mark for the night dropping to an all-time low of a 1.7.

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