And then came one final surprise from Monday's episode of The Bachelor...
All the in-fighting and Kleenex-dispensing didn't draw a crowd.
Well, all right, yes, it did, but it drew a noticeably smaller crowd: going from 11.2 million last week down to an estimated 9.9 millon.
One explanation--and, no, everybody clearing their schedules to watch Two and a Half Men is not it--is that last night's episode was one of The Bachelor's seasonal "Women Tell All" specials, which are good for headlines, but never quite as good for ratings.
Another possible explanation is that audiences at this point only want to hear one person tell all: Womack, in next week's finale.
Other TV ratings winners--and losers:
- Charlie Sheen: For all the exposure Mr. Tiger Blood got last week--including a much-monitored 20/20 interview (9.3 million viewers)--Sheen's ratings for any single program were never higher than the ratings for the show he just got fired from, Two and a Half Men, which garnered 11.6 million viewers...for a rerun.
- James Franco: The Oscar host's return to General Hospital drove the daytime soap to a rare demo win among women 18-49. See? Something good did come out of his hosting stint.
- The Event: This on-the-bubble show may have officially burst. Monday's back-to-back episodes--the first new ones to air since November--averaged just 5.2 million, and, worse, were the night's weakest first-run shows in the 18-49 demo on the big four networks.
- American Idol: The unveiling of the Top 13 scored the reality talent competition a season-high audience on Thursday night (25.3 million), and, of course, the TV week's biggest overall crowd.
- Miley Cyrus: The pop tart's Saturday Night Live tied Dana Carvey's for the show's second-best demo ratings of the season. Sorry, Lindsay Lohan.
- Secret Millionaire: ABC made bank off this Top 10-cracking reality-series premiere (12.7 million viewers).
- Army Wives: The Lifetime drama's fifth-season opener was cable's most-watched scripted series (4.2 million).