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New fall season scorecard: 'The Big Bang Theory' runs the board

Johnny Galecki, from left, Kaley Cuoco and Jim

(Credit: AP / CBS)

It appears that despite dire predictions, sad tales of decline, and predictions that  the sky is falling (because of time-shifting)... people are still watching TV. The start of the 2014 season on Monday night was a boffo one, especially for "The Big Bang Theory," seen by nearly 18 million viewers. 

In addtiion, Fox newcomer "Gotham" had an excellent start too, with eight million total viewers, and a 3.2 rating among young adults. That may well have even exceeded Fox's own internal predictions. 

As expected, "Dancing with the Stars" and "The Voice" took hits opposite "BBT" at eight, but nothing to be hugely concerned about at their respective networks: "DWTS," which began the season soft anyway, was seen by 12 million viewers -- way off from last season. "The Voice" was seen by 12.7 million, but had a very good 3.9 rating among young adults. (So yes, "DWTS" was officially in fourth place among younger viewers, but then "younger viewers" don't really watch this all that much anyway.) Meanwhile, CBS newcomer "Scorpion" opened strong (14 million) thanks to the lead-in, while "Sleepy Hollow" had a reasonable start. (5.5 million.)

How did ABC's "Forever" fare? Not bad either (8.3 million) despite a more-than-solid open for "The Blacklist" (12.3 million, meaning it held on to virtually its entire "Voice" lead-in.)

All in all, a very good night for network TV.

Iggy Azalea on 'Dancing with the Stars' -- and a winner named, too

U.S. ice dancing Olympic gold medalists Meryl Davis

(Credit: EPA / Christian Charisius)

The 18th season of "Dancing with the Stars" ended last night, and what a shocker: The Olympic ice dancing gold medalist won.

Who saw that coming? I mean, really?

Of course I'm disappointed, but this is not about me, is it? No, it's about Amy Purdy being robbed. She'll get over it -- after all, who's got the room in their closet for a glitter-ball trophy that big anyway? 

But the winners, Meryl Davis and Maks Chmerkovskiy, were certainly extraordinary. No doubt they were this season's best, but that doesn't make this larceny any easier.

Speaking of extraordinary, how about that appearance by Iggy Azalea last night? I could hear millions of conversations all over America ... "Mabel, what's an Iggy ... Mabel, what's she saying ... Mabel, turn off the sound, I'm confused ..."

In "DWTS'" almost comical ongoing efforts to build a young audience, Iggy got the call. Hey, why not: She's got a big hit. Certainly the most interesting part of this finale, and of many finales ... To the clips!

'Dancing with the Stars,' season 18, and the winner is ...

U.S. Paralympic team snowboarder Amy Purdy and her

(Credit: ABC / Adam Taylor)

Every season I predict the winner of "Dancing with the Stars" on the morning of the finals -- that's right, I've got a life and I'm living it large -- but almost invariably manage to get it wrong. I'm proud of that record, a testament to the fact that I really don't have a clue what I'm talking about when I talk "DWTS," but also to the cleverness of producer Conrad Green and protean "DWTS" who and which still manage to find ways to pull off little surprises after all these seasons.

Of course there's no surprise to the three we find in the finalists' circle, with possibly the exception of Candace Cameron Bure. Of course this was all going to come down to Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Derek Hough and Amy Purdy. That was the plan all along and it succeeded well.

It's easy to dismiss this final as all glitter-ball showmanship -- an ending crafted long before it ever even got to this point. But I actually do think this is a special end, and that the winner will indeed be someone who defied the odds -- to use that old tired line -- and did it in a way that created a sense of wonder in those who witnessed and a sense of real joy, too. Maybe you can really do what you set out to do, even when that would seem, on the face of it, impossible. Maybe those odds can be defied, and the fates overruled, and . . . darn it, maybe that glitter ball trophy really does mean something after all.

Of course the winner has to be Amy Purdy. The winner must be Amy Purdy. The winner will be Amy Purdy.

This wasn't easy for her and it could not have been easy -- even with the always superlative multiple champion Hough by her side most of the season. (And if somehow you are not aware, she lost both lower legs to bacterial meningitis as a young girl, and dances on prosthetic legs.) But she did it all with unfailing grace and a seeming belief in the goal -- that winning is in fact not quite everything but the process in getting there certainly is.

Good for her and for Hough -- they have briefly restored my faith in a show that gets wheezier and geezier by the season. But every so often it does find a real champion worth crowning. This one, for example. Here's the freestyle again from last night.

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