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Early returns in for the networks ratings battle

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By Ellen Gray
Philadelphia Daily News
  • Frank Micelotta / Invision

  • James Spader (left), star of "The Blacklist," and Toni Collette in "Hostages" are in a head-to-head ratings battle on Monday nights.

    James Spader (left), star of "The Blacklist," and Toni Collette in "Hostages" are in a head-to-head ratings battle on Monday nights.

The fall TV season's still rolling out, but with broadcasters already canceling and renewing shows, it's not too soon for a look at how things are going so far:
Keeping its head: Yes, there's a guy riding around without his, but "Sleepy Hollow" is one show that need not fear the network's ax. The Washington Irving-meets-the-apocalypse drama was renewed for Season 2 after it drew Fox's best numbers for a drama debut in six seasons.
Losing the jackpot: ABC's "Lucky 7." The drama about a group of co-workers in Queens who strike it rich in the lottery delivered numbers so unfortunate it was yanked after two episodes, becoming the first show of the season to be canceled.
Still winning: Kerry Washington, whose addictive "Scandal" returned for its third season with its best ratings yet and also snagged the top spot in Nielsen's new list of shows most talked about on Twitter.
Silver lining: With CBS's "We Are Men" gone (and really, it needed to go), "Mike & Molly" will be back on Mondays Nov. 4.
Battle of the former David E. Kelley lawyers: James Spader ("Boston Legal") pulled ahead of Dylan McDermott ("The Practice") in the very first head-to-head meeting of their respective Monday-night thrillers, NBC's "The Blacklist" and CBS's "Hostages," and hasn't stopped.
NBC's already picked up "Blacklist" for the rest of the season, while CBS is running promos reminding viewers "it's not too late" to catch up with "Hostages."
It really isn't too late to catch up with "Hostages": All you need to know is that McDermott's playing a rogue FBI agent who's apparently being coerced into coercing the president's surgeon (Toni Collette) into killing the president, using the threat that otherwise he'll kill her whole family and maybe even her dog. (So maybe it is complicated. But I think the dog will be fine.)
Marvel-ous: Though its numbers have dropped since its much-hyped premiere, ABC's "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD," which has been picked up for the rest of the season, is still holding its own against CBS's "NCIS" and doing particularly well, according to Variety, among the male viewers that ABC had hoped to attract.
Gone but not forgotten: Maybe I'm the only one who liked Mindy Kaling's season finale pixie in Fox's "The Mindy Project," but thanks to a flash-forward, the cut (it was a wig all along) was gone in record time, with the star now sporting a bob.
Rolling toward cancellation? NBC's "Ironside," starring Blair Underwood as the detective in a wheelchair, debuted Oct. 2 with what were reported to be the network's lowest ratings ever among advertiser-targeted 18- to 49-year-olds for a fall drama debut, before dropping further in the second week.
Barring a Nielsen miracle, this one's headed for the NBC Remake Trash Heap to join "Knight Rider," "The Bionic Woman" and (alas) "Prime Suspect."
Learning nothing: NBC's looking to bring back that '80s show "Remington Steele" as a half-hour comedy, reported last week.
Not so 'Wonder'-ful: Spin-off "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland" opened lower than last season's canceled "Last Resort," burnishing the reputation of 8 p.m. Thursdays as an ABC death slot.
Just a suggestion: NBC ordered 22 episodes of "The Michael J. Fox Show" before it even aired. So maybe it's time to move it to a night where someone might see it? Because with all due respect to "Parks and Recreation," NBC Thursdays have become must-flee TV.
Dead medium walking: In what might be the worst news of the week for broadcasters, AMC's "The Walking Dead," already the highest-rated show in all of television among 18- to 49-year-olds, returned for its fourth season Sunday with a series-high 16.1 million viewers, 10.4 million of them in that advertiser-targeted 18-to-49 demo.
Story tags » Television

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