Ratings: Work It Not a Total Bust, NCIS and NCIS: LA Cop Big Numbers, Lying Game Hits High

The premiere numbers for ABC’s critically lambasted Work It were not entirely ugly.

The men-in-drag comedy debuted to 6.1 million total viewers while scoring a 2.0 demo rating, retaining some 80 percent of lead-in Last Man Standing‘s numbers (7.9 mil/2.4). But while Work It improved on the short-lived Man Up‘s final audience in the 8:30 slot, it was down 17 percent from its predecessor’s own series premiere rating. (A rival network notes that Work It stands as ABC’s “lowest rated in-season comedy debut ever.”)

2012 Renewal Scorecard: What’s Coming Back? What’s Getting Axed? What’s on the Bubble?

Tuesday’s other big headline belong to the NCISes (NCeese?). The mothership drew its second-largest audience (20.02 million, up 5 percent) and second-best demo rating (4.2, up 17 percent) for the season. NCIS: LA then went on to deliver its biggest audience of the season (17.1 million viewers) and score its best demo rating (3.5, up 17 percent) since Oct. 25.

Elsewhere on the night…..

* The Biggest Loser, back from a lonnnnnnnnng break, kicked off its new season with 6.5 million total viewers and a 2.3 demo rating, on par with its previous premiere (going way, wayyyy back to September).

* ABC’s Celebrity Wife Swap (6 mil/2.2) shed a few of Work It‘s viewers but improved on its demo a bit, while dipping some from its Monday night “sneak peek.”

* Unforgettable dominated the 10 o’clock hour with 11.62 million total viewers and a 2.5 rating (up 14 percent). Body of Proof held steady at 7 mil and a 1.5 while a terrific episode of Parenthood (5 mil/1.7) sadly tumbled double digits to hit a series-low demo rating.

* CABLE UPDATE: The Season 1.5 premiere of ABC Family’s The Lying Game hit series highs in total viewers (with 1.8 million), the 18-49 demo (0.7 rating) and multiple other target demos. Leading into that, Pretty Little Liars drew 3.3 million total viewers, improving on its summer run average by 27 percent.