Viewers still love ’em worms and cockroaches. After a five-year break, NBC’s Fear Factor returned to the schedule last night with ratings the likes of which NBC has not seen in a long while. The gross-out reality series premiered with back-to-back episodes averaging a 3.1 rating/8 share in adults 18-49 (8.7 million total viewers) at 8 PM and a 3.5/8 (8.5 million) at 9 PM. Both hours posted season highs in their time slots, outperforming NBC’s 18-49 season averages by 88% and 106%, respectively. Fear Factor, back with its original producing team and host Joe Rogan, helped struggling newsmagazine Rock Center With Brian Williams (1.1/3, 4 million), which was up 22% from last week to match its series high in 18-49. NBC (2.6/7, 7 million for the night), always dead last on Mondays this fall, finished a competitive second behind CBS (3.6/9, 12 million).
CBS’ entire lineup was down from last week. The network tested rookie 2 Broke Girls as an 8 PM anchor. It posted a 4.1/11, down 11% from its rating at 8:30 PM last week and down 9% from the performance of How I Met Your Mother in the 8 PM half-hour last week but a very solid showing nevertheless. After a 2 Broke Girls rerun (3.3/8), Two And A Half Men (4.6/11) was down 10% from last week to a season low. Mike & Molly (3.9/9) and Hawaii Five-0 (2.8/7) were down 7%.
Fox aired a new Terra Nova (2.1/6, down a tenth from its last original two weeks ago) and a rerun of House (1.4/3). ABC turned in an NBC-like Monday performance before Fear Factor, with Charlie Brown: I Want A Dog For Christmas (1.4/4, down 13% from last year), game show You Deserve It (0.9/2, down 10% from last week for a new series low) and a Castle repeat (1.0/2). The CW aired reruns.