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Ratings report: NBC's 'Trauma' in pain. Showtime's 'Dexter' kills! Fox News on top.

September 29, 2009 | 12:24 pm

It's only been one episode and NBC's medical drama "Trauma" already needs some CPR.


The network finished fourth in viewers and adults 18-49 Monday night, and  "Trauma" drew just 6.9 million viewers and a 2.3 rating in the key 18-49 category (for those with calculators handy, each rating point in that demographic equals 1.3 million people) on Monday night.

On the bright side, "Trauma" did build on its lackluster "Heroes" lead-in. (Sooner or later Harvard will offer up a case study on how a show that seemed destined to be a big smash fell so far so fast.) Monday's "Heroes"  averaged 5.8 million viewers and a 2.5 rating in adults 18-49. "Jay Leno" ended up with 5.4 million viewers and a lowly 1.8 rating in 18-49. All three shows under-performed the network's average ratings for the night a year ago.

Pity the poor spinners at the networks. NBC notes that "Leno" finished third among all major networks in viewers and demographics and left out that there are only three broadcast networks competing in the 10-11 p.m. hour.

ABC, CBS and Fox could all find something to crow about Monday night. ABC won in viewers with 14.3 million thanks to "Dancing with the Stars." Fox's "House" continues to impress this season, averaging 14.4 million viewers in the 8-9 p.m. slot and winning adults 18-49 with a 5.7 rating. CBS' 9-10 p.m. comedy block of "Two and a Half Men" and "The Big Bang Theory" won its hour in 18-49 with a 4.9 rating.


In the pay-cable world, Showtime's season premieres of "Dexter" and "Californication" on Sunday night were record highs for each series. "Dexter" averaged 1.5 million viewers while "Californication" had 821,000 viewers.

Last week, HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" premiered with 1.1 million viewers while its new quirky comedy "Bored to Death" averaged about 1 million viewers.

Since consumers pay extra cash to get channels like Showtime and HBO and cash is good from anyone regardless of age, those channels don't care about demographics. That must be nice. In terms of subscribers, HBO has about 30 million while Showtime is in about 17 million homes.

In the cable news wars, third-quarter numbers are out (for some reason, cable news operates on a quarterly basis when it comes to ratings spin). Fox News won the quarter in viewers and adults 25-54 and had a particularly huge September. Fox News had a huge September in viewers and the adults 25-54 demographic that those channels covet. CNN finished second in 25-54 for the quarter but MSNBC also had a strong September and has moved past CNN for the year in the 25-54 category.

-- Joe Flint

Photos: Top Right: Hugh Laurie in "House." Credit: Adam Taylor / NBC Universal/FOX. Bottom left: Michael Hall in "Dexter" Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times.