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PRIME-TIME TV RANKINGS

'Minutes' reaps the Obama effect

The newsmagazine leads the week, due to its interview. This plus 'CSI' and 'NCIS' help to put CBS at No. 1.

November 19, 2008|Scott Collins

"60 Minutes" has been on the air for 40 years, but there's life in it yet. Last week the newsmagazine helped guide CBS to its seventh straight week as the most-watched network. CBS also won, although narrowly, in the key category of adults ages 18 to 49.

Correspondent Steve Kroft's interview with President-elect Barack Obama and wife, Michelle, helped make "60 Minutes" the week's No. 1 program, with an average of 25.1 million total viewers, its largest audience since January 1999, according to figures published Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research. (As is customary in the fall, "60 Minutes" was helped by an NFL lead-in in some markets.)

The Obama sit-down, the president-elect's first extensive TV interview since the election, was so strong it even outpaced NBC's Sunday matchup between the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys, a grudge match between two fabled teams. The game gathered 19.3 million viewers for the week's runner-up spot.

Overall, CBS won the week with an average of 12.3 million total viewers, followed by ABC (10.5 million), NBC (7.7 million) and Fox (6.8 million). Among 18- to 49-year-olds, the race was much closer, with CBS brushing past ABC, a 3.3 rating versus a 3.1.

CBS was helped by established favorites such as "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (19 million) and "NCIS" (18.8 million, a series high), while ABC benefited from Wednesday's CMA Awards (15.9 million).

Beyond football, NBC continued to suffer, finishing no better than third place in the 18-to-49 category every night except Sunday. Fox is largely in a holding pattern until the return of "American Idol" in January, but the combination of "House" and "Fringe" was enough for the network to take Tuesday among young adults.

On basic cable, ESPN's Monday matchup between the 49ers and the Cardinals was the week's No. 1 program, with 11.9 million total viewers.

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Here are the rankings for national prime-time network television last week (Nov. 10-16) as compiled by Nielsen Media Research. They are based on the average number of people who watched a program from start to finish. Nielsen estimates there are 286 million potential viewers in the U.S. ages 2 and older. Viewership is listed in millions.

*--* Program Network Viewers 1 60 Minutes CBS 25.10 2 Football NBC 19.27 3 CSI CBS 19.05 4 NCIS CBS 18.74 5 Dancing With the Stars ABC 18.69 *--*

*--* 6 Desperate Housewives ABC 16.84 7 Dancing With the Stars: Results ABC 16.52 The Mentalist CBS 16.52 9 CMA Awards ABC 15.90 10 Grey's Anatomy (Thu., 9 p.m.) ABC 14.90 *--*

*--* 11 Criminal Minds CBS 14.83 12 Two and a Half Men CBS 14.50 13 CSI: Miami CBS 13.81 14 House FOX 13.06 15 Survivor: Gabon CBS 12.88 *--*

*--* 16 Cold Case CBS 12.28 17 Without a Trace CBS 12.23 18 Amazing Race 13 CBS 12.13 19 NFL Pre-Game (Sun.) NBC 11.92 20 Eleventh Hour CBS 11.63 *--*

*--* 21 CSI: NY CBS 11.62 22 Ghost Whisperer CBS 11.57 23 Bones FOX 10.87 24 Samantha Who? ABC 10.40 25 Dancing With the Stars: Recap ABC 10.32 *--*

*--* 26 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (8 p.m.) ABC 10.31 27 The Unit CBS 10.23 28 The Big Bang Theory CBS 10.01 29 Brothers & Sisters ABC 10.00 30 ER NBC 9.90 *--*

*--* 31 How I Met Your Mother CBS 9.79 32 Worst Week CBS 9.46 33 Law & Order: SVU NBC 9.42 34 Numb3rs CBS 9.28 35 Boston Legal ABC 8.70 *--*

*--* 36 Fringe FOX 8.61 37 Family Guy FOX 8.57 38 Football Night America (Part 3) NBC 8.54 39 The Simpsons FOX 8.48 40 The Office NBC 8.30 *--*

*--* 41 Ugly Betty ABC 8.25 42 The Biggest Loser Families NBC 8.10 43 Barbara Walters Special (Fri.) ABC 8.05 44 Life on Mars ABC 7.97 45 Law & Order NBC 7.93 *--*

*--* 46 Heroes NBC 7.85 47 30 Rock NBC 7.60 48 The Price Is Right Salutes the Troops CBS 7.10 49 King of the Hill FOX 7.08 50 My Name Is Earl NBC 7.04 *--*

*--* 51 Eli Stone ABC 7.00 52 The New Adventures of Old Christine CBS 6.82 53 American Dad FOX 6.76 54 Gary Unmarried CBS 6.61 55 Chuck NBC 6.34 *--*

*--* 56 America's Most Wanted: America Fights Back FOX 6.29 57 House (Wed., 9 p.m.) FOX 6.22 58 Cops 2 FOX 6.21 59 48 Hours Mystery CBS 6.09 60 Football Night America (Part 2) NBC 5.93 *--*

*--* 61 Latin Grammy 2008 (Thu.) UNI 5.85 62 Life NBC 5.81 63 Cops FOX 5.67 64 The Simpsons (Sun., 7:30 p.m.) FOX 5.64 65 Fuego en la Sangre (Wed.) UNI 5.55 *--*

*--* 66 Fuego en la Sangre (Mon.) UNI 5.47 67 Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? FOX 5.41 68 Prison Break FOX 5.38 69 Knight Rider NBC 5.34 70 Deal or No Deal (Fri.) NBC 5.30 *--*

*--* 71 Fuego en la Sangre (Tue.) UNI 5.17 72 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles FOX 5.15 73 Don't Forget the Lyrics FOX 5.13 74 Kath & Kim NBC 5.12 75 Kitchen Nightmares FOX 4.91 *--*

*--* 76 Fuego en la Sangre (Fri.) UNI 4.85 Supernanny ABC 4.85 78 Movie: "Wedding Crashers" (Sat.) CBS 4.84 79 Cuidado con el Angel (Mon.) UNI 4.74 80 College Football ABC 4.68 *--*

*--* 81 Cuidado con el Angel (Tue.) UNI 4.62 82 Kitchen Nightmares (Thu., 8 p.m.) FOX 4.58 Cuidado con el Angel (Fri.) UNI 4.58 Cuidado con el Angel (Wed.) UNI 4.58 85 Supernanny (Fri.) ABC 4.50 *--*

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