Originally created 09/24/05

Winners, losers as new television season is launched



NEW YORK - After a long, slow summer, television viewers are sampling new programs and old favorites as fall's TV season begins. A look at how it's going:

WINNER: NBC heavily promoted the new comedy "My Name is Earl," and 15.2 million viewers decided to check it out on Tuesday, according to Nielsen Media Research. That's even more impressive when you consider people showed little interest in the shows NBC aired before and after: "The Biggest Loser" had only 7.9 million viewers and "The Office" just 9 million.

LOSER: Fox may have gotten its hopes up last week when the drama "Bones" debuted to a top 20 finish and 10.8 million viewers. With stiffer competition, the audience sank to 7.4 million this week. Most shows drop off from their premieres, but it's a concern when so many people don't decide to return.

EXTRAS: It must have been a summer fling, because the "dance-off" between John O'Hurley and Kelly Monaco was a dud. It drew 10.9 million viewers, less than half the audience for the final installment of "Dancing With the Stars" in July... ABC's "According to Jim" is showing its age, with a lackluster opening to its fifth season in front of 8.1 million people.