RATINGS: ‘Biggest Loser’ Blows Up, ‘Prep’ Takes Off

NBC gets a holiday gift from viewers, with strong “Loser” lifting Leno to his best ratings since September. Disney’s new holiday special also does well

Last Updated: December 9, 2009 @ 12:46 PM

"The Biggest Loser" continues to defy ratings gravity, while ABC’s "Prep and Landing" took flight with viewers Tuesday.

On a relatively slow December night filled with many repeats, viewers (mostly) flocked to originals. The highlights (and a couple lowlights):

–The two-hour season finale of "Loser" notched a 5.0/13 in the demo, up double digits from the winter 2008 sign-off of "Biggest Loser: Families" (4.5/12) and about 5 percent from last spring’s finale. Overall, it was the biggest "Loser" in four year.

It’s another sign that growing old doesn’t have to equal ratings erosion for reality franchises.

"Loser" gave a big boost to "The Jay Leno Show," which soared to a 2.9/8, a 53 percent jump from last Tuesday and the show’s biggest number since the first few weeks of the season (since Sept. 16, to be exact). It also helped that ABC and CBS both aired repeats, but Leno partisans will cite this performance as a sign that the Chin’s numbers would be a lot better if the rest of NBC’s primetime had a pulse.

–Over at ABC, a new holiday staple may have been born. After a delayed-by-Obama half-hour edition of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (3.7/11) turned in its usual numbers, new Disney-produced special "Prep and Landing" upticked to a 4.1/11.

That’s a strong debut, though nowhere near the performance of the DreamWorks-produced "Shrek" holiday special that bowed in 2007. That special, which had the advantage of huge brand recognition, debuted with a 7.1/19.

Week two of "Scrubs 2.5" (2.3/6) rose 15 percent vs. last week, thanks to the better lead-in from "Prep." But, almost predictably, critical fave "Better Off Ted" (1.5/4) broke hearts with a debut off 29 percent from it’s already-week spring season one premiere.

–CBS was in repeat mode but nonetheless managed to tie ABC and Fox for second on the night, with NBC easily winning the evening.

–Despite the big reveal of Sydney’s murderer, "Melrose Place" made due with a 1.1 in women 18-34 and a 0.8 in adults 18-34.