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Prime-Time TV Rankings

ABC still loves the change of seasons

The network starts the fall on top of the ratings again, airing the four most-watched programs of the week.

October 01, 2008|From City News Service

"Dancing With the Stars," "Desperate Housewives" and "Grey's Anatomy" helped ABC become television's most-watched network during premiere week for the second consecutive year, while new series generally drew mediocre viewership.

ABC had the week's four most-watched programs and averaged 12.26 million viewers for its prime-time programming between Sept. 22 and Sunday, according to figures released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

CBS was second, averaging 11.26 million viewers, despite the absence of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," its most-watched series during the 2007-2008 season, and its Friday night lineup.

CBS' "How I Met Your Mother," "NCIS" and "Criminal Minds" all drew their largest premiere audiences while "Two and a Half Men" drew its largest premiere audience since 2004, countering predictions of declining viewership for scripted programming after the Writers Guild strike that disrupted last season.

ABC's prime-time viewership was up 3% from last year's premiere week while CBS was down 5%. CBS also benefited last season from a large audience from a run-over of an NFL football game.

NBC was third, averaging 8.31 million viewers, 16% less than the 9.93 million for last season's premiere week. Fox Broadcasting was fourth with 7.5 million, 8% more than last season's premiere week.

The week's most-watched program was the two-hour fall season premiere of "Dancing With the Stars" on Monday, which averaged 21.34 million viewers, virtually unchanged from the 21.25 million average for last season's premiere.

Another two-hour "Dancing" episode on Tuesday was fourth for the week with 18.3 million viewers, while Wednesday's hourlong results show was ninth for the week with 15.87 million viewers.

The week's most-watched new series was the CBS crime drama "The Mentalist," which was second in its 9-10 p.m. Tuesday slot and 10th for the week with 15.6 million viewers.

The week's disappointing premieres included NBC's "Knight Rider" revival and the ABC game show "Opportunity Knocks." "Knight Rider" was third in its 8-9 p.m. Wednesday slot and 43rd for the week with 7.35 million viewers. "Opportunity Knocks" was fourth in its 8-9 p.m. Tuesday period and 52nd for the week with 6.56 million viewers.

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Here are the rankings for national prime-time network television last week (Sept. 22-28) 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 Dancing With the Stars ABC 21.34 2 Desperate Housewives ABC 18.68 3 Grey's Anatomy (Thu., 9 p.m.) ABC 18.47 4 Dancing With the Stars (Tue.) ABC 18.30 5 NCIS CBS 18.03 *--*

*--* 6 Football (Sun.) NBC 17.34 7 CSI: Miami CBS 17.23 8 Criminal Minds CBS 17.01 9 Dancing With the Stars: Results ABC 15.87 10 The Mentalist CBS 15.60 *--*

*--* 11 Two and a Half Men CBS 14.88 12 CSI: NY CBS 14.59 13 Survivor: Gabon CBS 13.06 14 60 Minutes CBS 12.59 15 House FOX 12.38 *--*

*--* 16 The OT FOX 12.18 17 Brothers & Sisters ABC 12.03 18 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (8 p.m.) ABC 11.95 19 NFL Pre-Game (Sun.) NBC 11.93 20 Cold Case CBS 11.36 *--*

*--* 21 Without a Trace CBS 11.28 22 Worst Week CBS 10.87 23 America's Got Talent (Wed.) NBC 10.30 24 Heroes NBC 10.09 25 Amazing Race 13 CBS 10.04 *--*

*--* 26 Ugly Betty ABC 9.81 27 How I Met Your Mother CBS 9.79 28 Bones FOX 9.73 29 The Unit CBS 9.71 30 Law & Order: SVU NBC 9.68 *--*

*--* 31 The Simpsons FOX 9.47 32 Fringe FOX 9.42 33 The Office NBC 9.34 34 The Big Bang Theory CBS 9.32 35 CSI (10 p.m.) CBS 9.28 *--*

*--* 36 Family Guy FOX 9.09 37 Football Night America (Part 3) NBC 9.00 38 Boston Legal ABC 8.82 39 Vote 2008: Analysis (Fri.) ABC 8.27 40 E.R. NBC 8.03 *--*

*--* 41 The Mentalist (Fri.) CBS 7.90 42 The Biggest Loser 6 NBC 7.36 43 Knight Rider NBC 7.35 44 48 Hours Mystery CBS 7.32 45 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (7 p.m.) ABC 7.14 *--*

*--* 46 David Blaine: Dive of Death ABC 7.13 47 Presidential Debate Analysis NBC 7.12 48 King of the Hill FOX 7.10 49 American Dad FOX 6.89 20/20 (Fri.) ABC 6.89 *--*

*--* 51 Gary Unmarried CBS 6.82 52 Opportunity Knocks ABC 6.56 53 The New Adventures of Old Christine CBS 6.52 54 My Name Is Earl NBC 6.40 55 Lipstick Jungle NBC 6.25 *--*

*--* 56 Presidential Debate Analysis CBS 6.14 57 Crimetime Saturday CBS 6.11 58 Heroes: Countdown to Premiere NBC 6.00 59 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles FOX 5.89 60 Prison Break FOX 5.84 *--*

*--* 61 Football (Sat.) ABC 5.82 62 Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? FOX 5.23 63 Cops 2 FOX 5.20 64 Fuego en la Sangre (Thu.) UNI 4.99 65 Fuego en la Sangre (Wed.) UNI 4.97 *--*

*--* 66 Cristina (Mon.) UNI 4.87 67 America's Most Wanted: America Fights Back FOX 4.84 68 Fuego en la Sangre Mon UNI 4.83 69 Law & Order: SVU (Sat.) NBC 4.79 70 Fuego en la Sangre (Tue.) UNI 4.69 *--*

*--* 71 Cops FOX 4.67 72 Kitchen Nightmares FOX 4.46 73 Cuidado con el Angel (Mon.) UNI 4.42 74 Friday Night Smackdown CW 4.41 75 Crimetime Saturday (8 p.m.) CBS 4.38 *--*

*--* 76 Fuego en la Sangre (Fri.) UNI 4.33 77 Football Night America (Part 2) NBC 4.27 78 Cuidado con el Angel (Tue.) UNI 4.20 79 Kitchen Nightmares (Thu., 8 p.m.) FOX 4.18 Smallville CW 4.18 *--*

*--* 81 America's Next Top Model CW 4.13 82 Cuidado con el Angel (Thu.) UNI 3.93 83 Post Debate (Fri.) FOX 3.90 84 Cuidado con el Angel (Wed.) UNI 3.88 85 America's Toughest Jobs NBC 3.84 *--*

Network averages

Here is the number of viewers (in millions) that each network averaged per hour of prime time, for last week and for the season.

*--* Network Last week Season to date ABC 12.26 12.26

CBS 11.26 11.26

NBC 8.31 8.31

FOX 7.5 7.5

UNI 3.69 3.69

CW 2.91 2.91 *--*

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