“Alcatraz” Ratings Start Okay, “How I Met Your Mother” Bounces Back

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It is far too early to call FOX’s new prison-centric drama “Alcatraz” a hit, but it got off to a worthy start Monday night.

Up against CBS’ competitive comedy lineup and an impressively-viewed Betty White special on NBC, the new series posted a solid 3.3 adults 18-49 rating with just under 10 million viewers. The audience dipped slightly from start to finish, which is never good, although it was not necessarily a “sound the alarm” level decline (especially given heightened competition at 9PM).

“Alcatraz” thus slightly beat out the opener of “Terra Nova,” which ultimately ended its first season run in “bubble” territory from a ratings standpoint.

Over on CBS, “How I Met Your Mother” bounced back from its last original, adding credibility to the idea that the January 2 showing underperformed due to lack of awareness and the unusual presence of an actual football game (it battled the end of the Rose Bowl telecast; normally, “Mother” faces the pregame portion of Monday Night Football). It garnered a healthy 4.4 with 10.1 million viewers.

Breakout hit “2 Broke Girls” posted a strong 4.5 and 11.3 million, while “Two and a Half Men” perked up to a 4.6 demo but delivered a relatively-low viewership (by the show’s standards) count at 12.9 million. Assuming that figure is not being errantly-reported, it was likely a product of the Betty White event attracting the older “Men” fans.

“Mike & Molly” followed with a 3.8 and 11.2 million, while “Hawaii 5-0″ led its 10PM timeslot at a 2.8 and 10.5 million.

NBC’s celebration of “Betty White’s 90th Birthday” drew a monstrous 13.9 million viewership average, along with a very respectable 2.7 in the demo. The half-hour premiere of “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers” delivered a 2.6 and 12.2 million.