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'SVU' beats Liotta's 'Smith' in ratings tussle

September 21, 2006|Scott Collins

"Smith" got into a rumble with Dick Wolf on Tuesday night, and Wolf won.

A new CBS drama starring Ray Liotta as a criminal antihero, "Smith" opened with a soft 10.7 million viewers, according to early data from Nielsen Media Research. That lagged behind the eighth-season debut of NBC's "Law & Order: SVU" (14.4 million), from executive producer Wolf, as well as the third season roll-out of ABC's "Boston Legal" (11.6 million), which benefited from a two-hour "Dancing With the Stars" lead-in (18.1 million).

Additionally, "Smith" lost 9% of its audience from the first to second half-hour, while the number of "SVU" viewers grew slightly.

But on the bright side, "Smith" tied for second place with "Boston Legal" among viewers ages 18 to 49, and the show performed a bit more strongly than the drama "Close to Home" did when it premiered in the time slot last year.

Overall, ABC won the night in total viewers and among the 18-to-49 group.

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