‘Alias’ continues to drag down ABC while ‘Smallville’ delivers super ratings for WB

As Thursday’s overnight TV ratings trickled in Friday morning, the results were shocking. For the first time, the WB was ranked as the third-most watched network in America among the coveted 18-49-year-old age demographic.

Buoyed by a Smallville episode featuring a guest appearance of Aquaman, the adventures of young Clark Kent and friends was the second-most-watched TV first the first half hour of primetime.

Smallville laid waste to NBC’s Joey, UPN’s Everybody Hates Chris, ABC’s Alias and a repeat episode of Reunion on Fox. Only CBS’s latest edition of Survivor had more viewers.

This is particularly bad news for Alias, as Smallville had 75% more viewers than ABC’s spy-fi series. Alias was ranked as the No.4 most-watched show for its timeslot for 18-49 year olds (it scored better with the over 50-set, not a good sign for youth-obsessed advertisers), barely beating UPN’s Everybody Hates Chris by a mere tenth of a ratings point.

In the 9 p.m. hour, supernatural thriller Night Stalker on ABC fared better, although it had fewer viewers than Alias. Night Stalker’s draw of the 18-to-49 year olds had it placing third in its time period, a respectable showing for the No. 4 network. Stalker faces twin titans, CSI and The Apprentice in its timeslot fight for viewers.

Night Stalker also is faring better than ABC’s Life as We Know It did last year. Stalker even shows signs of chipping away at the ratings lead for both CSI and The Apprentice as those shows are down in audience from last year.

But the future of Stalker is by no means safe. We’ll have to see if the sereies can pull in enough viewers for its heavily promoted Halloween episode next week.

If not, look for both Alias and Night Stalker to head into hiatus, replaced by stunt programming on ABC’s Thursday nights during November sweeps.