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Fox's 'Following' gets off to a strong start

David Bauder, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Thanks to a fictional serial killer and Kevin Bacon, there's a sense of relief over at Fox.

The network had a disappointing fall, the new "American Idol" team hasn't stopped the series' slow fade and its highly anticipated new drama, "The Following," got caught up in the discussion over violence in the media that followed the Connecticut school shooting.

Early returns on "The Following," which stars Bacon chasing a charismatic killer, have been encouraging. The series debuted last week with 10.4 million viewers and among Fox's target audience of 18-to-49-year-old viewers, it was the most-watched drama all week.

The second episode on Monday dropped only slightly, to 10 million viewers, the Nielsen ratings company said. It was up over the debut for young viewers, including a 13 percent increase among people ages 18 to 34, generally a very encouraging sign for a new TV series.

The attention-getting debut of "Carrie Diaries" on the CW network was a disappointment, however. The series is a "prequel" to HBO's old "Sex and the City" series, featuring the Carrie Bradshaw character in high school. Its debut audience of 1.27 million people was fewer than the CW series "Emily Owens, MD," which is not being renewed.

CBS' "60 Minutes," which led with Steve Kroft's dual interview with President Barack Obama and outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, finished in the week's top 10 with 11.6 million viewers. CBS won the week again, even though many of its regular series were in reruns.

For the week, CBS led with an average of 8.9 million viewers in prime time (5.8 rating, 9 share). Fox was second with an average of 7.1 million (4.1, 6) and led among the 18-to-49-year-old viewers it most cares about. ABC had 5.7 million viewers (3.7, 6), NBC had 5.4 million (3.4, 5), the CW had 1.7 million (1.1, 2) and ION Television had 1.2 million (0.8, 1).

Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with an average of 3.9 million viewers (2.0, 3), Telemundo had 1.4 million (0.7, 1), UniMas had 700,000 (0.4, 1), Estrella had 230,000 and Azteca had 150,000 (both 0.1, 0).

NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9.2 million viewers (6.2, 11). ABC's "World News" was second with 8.3 million (5.9, 11) and the "CBS Evening News" had 7.2 million viewers (4.9, 9).

A ratings point represents 1,147,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 114.7 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

For the week of Jan. 21-27, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "American Idol" (Wednesday), Fox, 16.07 million; "American Idol" (Thursday), Fox, 15.65 million; "NCIS," CBS, 12.86 million; Pro Football: Pro Bowl, NBC, 12.16 million; "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 11.93 million; "Criminal Minds," CBS, 11.84 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 11.65 million; "2 Broke Girls," CBS, 11.56 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 11.49 million; "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," CBS, 11.46 million.


ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox and My Network TV are units of News Corp. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks. TeleFutura is a division of Univision. Azteca America is a wholly owned subsidiary of TV Azteca S.A. de C.V.