Hottest TV shows up? Mike & Molly takes the cake.

Think the traditional sitcom is dead? Not according to CBS. “Mike & Molly” holds the title for the most-watched new television series, at least for the fall. It averaged a 7.2 rating/11 share in Fast National overnight ratings from The Nielsen Co. over its first 12 episodes. It won a close battle with two other new CBS shows — “Blue Bloods” starring Tom Selleck and the remake of “Hawaii Five-0″ — all part of the network’s domination of the schedule for both new and veteran programs.

Mike & Molly takes the cake
Mike & Molly takes the cake

In fact, less than 0.2 of a ratings point separated the three shows, a race that had been led by “Hawaii Five-0″ in the early going. But both “Mike & Molly” and “Blue Bloods” found their audiences quickly, leading to a late fall surge and the current season crown.

“Mike & Molly” gets a strong boost from its “Two and a Half Men” lead-in, another popular traditional sitcom on CBS. However, “Mike & Molly” loses about 14 percent of its lead-in audience.

“Hawaii Five-0″ actually gets “Mike & Molly” as its lead-in. Despite growing the audience in the 10 p.m. timeslot in the early going, “Hawaii Five-0″ now loses about 3 percent of its lead-in — still a very solid outing for both shows tvjaya.com.

“MIke & Molly” has had tremendous competition from get-go, especially with “Dancing With the Stars” on ABC, which averaged an 82 percent larger audience in the 9 p.m. hour. However, “Mike & Molly” would easily take care of the rest of the schedule including “The Event” on NBC (4.2/6), “Lie To Me” on Fox (3.4/5) and “Gossip Girl” on The CW (1.3/2).

CBS rounds out the top five with another traditional sitcom starring William Shatner, “$#*! My Dad Says” (6.4/11) and the drama “The Defenders” (6.3/11).

After that, it’s non-CBS networks. “Law & Order: Los Angeles” is proving its worth for NBC, right now as the network’s top-rated program, and the only show that is doing better than “The Jay Leno Show” in the 10 p.m. timeslot from the year before.

“Detroit 1-8-7″ on ABC is not far behind. It’s that network’s best new show of the season, easily beating out “No Ordinary Family,” which has struggled keeping its audience.

“Better With You” on ABC and “The Event” round out the top 10. Both are just ahead of “Outlaw,” which NBC cancelled after just a few episodes. “Better With You” is expected to return to ABC’s schedule next season, while “The Event” is likely on the verge of cancellation.

1. Mike & Molly (CBS) 7.2/11 [90.0]
2. Blue Bloods (CBS) 7.0/13 [88.0]
3. Hawaii Five-0 (CBS) 7.0/12 [82.2]
4. $#*! My Dad Says (CBS) 6.4/11 [84.8]
5. The Defenders (CBS) 6.3/11 [82.5]
6. Law & Order: Los Angeles (NBC) 5.5/10 [81.3]
7. Detroit 1-8-7 (ABC) 5.3/9 [82.2]
8. No Ordinary Family (ABC) 4.6/7 [73.7]
9. Better With You (ABC) 4.5/7 [91.4]
10. The Event (NBC) 4.2/6 [62.4]
11. Outlaw (NBC) 4.1/8 [59.9]
12. Undercovers (NBC) 3.9/7 [70.2]
13. Raising Hope (Fox) 3.8/6 [83.8]
14. The Chase (NBC) 3.6/6 [71.5]
15. Skating With the Stars (ABC) 3.4/5 [71.8]
15. Outsourced (NBC) 3.4/5 [79.3]
17. Million Dollar Money Drop (Fox) 3.3/5 [96.3]
18. My Generation (ABC) 3.0/6 [90.9]
19. Whole Truth (ABC) 3.0/5 [89.4]
20. Lone Star (Fox) 2.5/4 [98.0]
21. Perfect Couple (NBC) 2.4/4 [NA]
21. Running Wilde (Fox) 2.4/4 [69.3]
23. School Pride (NBC) 1.7/3 [88.0]
23. Nikita (CW) 1.7/3 [79.3]
25. Hellcats (CW) 1.4/2 [74.2]

Fast Nationals usually provide a snapshot of what Americans are watching by pulling numbers from the top urban markets that include both live viewing and same-day timeshifted viewing. A rating point generally represents more than 1.1 million households while the share indicates the percentage of televisions turned on that was tuned to the specific program. These numbers typically shift when final ratings are issued.