Nellie Andreeva

House‘s ratings upswing couldn’t have come at a better time. As conversations between Fox and Universal Television over the future of the veteran medical drama continue, House last night came back strong from a two-month hiatus. Returning to its old Monday 8 PM slot, the series starring Hugh Laurie with Melanie Lynskey as guest drew a 3.1/8 in adults 18-49, up 19% from its last original telecast on November 28. In its regular 9 PM time period debut, new drama Alcatraz (3.0/7) was down 9% from its two-hour premiere last Monday. It matched the second-week fast-national rating for Terra Nova despite starting off higher with a stronger premiere and airing at 9 PM with a lead-in from House vs. a 8 PM berth for Terra Nova. The Fox dramas were helped by CBS, whose formidable Monday lineup was in repeats last night. Also taking advantage of that was ABC’s The Bachelor (2.7/7), up 13% from last week. But Castle (2.1/5) at 10 PM was down 5%. NBC’s Who’s Still Standing (1.7/5) was up 6% from its most recent episode two weeks ago. With a Republican presidential debate airing under the aegis of Rock Center With Brian Williams, the newsmagazine not surprisingly posted its highest ratings ever: The two-hour debate averaged 7.1 million viewers, the second-highest audience for a GOP debate this cycle behind ABC’s December 10 special. Fox (3.0/8, 8.8 million) won the night in 18-49 and total viewers.

TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.