"Gladiators" smashes competition

The return of American Gladiators was a huge ratings success story, drawing a 5.9 rating among adults 18-49 for NBC, according to Nielsen.

The two-hour premiere even drew numbers that it never achieved in its syndication run (1989-95). It also drew the highest-rated program for any new show this season.

Gladiators will move to regular day and time tonight (8 ET/ 7 CT).

Meanwhile, Fox’s red-hot Sunday night lineup of animated comedies took a big hit from Gladiators and Deal or No Deal, with season-low numbers for new episodes of King of the Hill, American Dad, The Simpsons (which was surprisingly lame). It’s not encouraging when the overexposed Deal or No Deal draws higher ratings than your show.

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