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Prime-Time TV Rankings

'NCIS,' 'The Mentalist' help CBS win the week

October 08, 2008|Scott Collins | Times Staff Writer

Buoyed by "NCIS" and fall's top new drama, CBS won last week's prime-time race in both total viewers and the ad-friendly demographic of 18- to 49-year-olds in a period disrupted by Thursday's vice presidential debate and a series of financial crises that diverted viewers' attention.

CBS had six of the 10 most-watched shows, including "NCIS" (17.5 million viewers), the 41st season premiere of "60 Minutes" (16.7 million) and the fall season's No. 1 new show, "The Mentalist" (15.5 million).

Overall, CBS led with an average of 11.1 million viewers, trailed by ABC (9.2 million), NBC (7.8 million) and Fox (6.5 million), according to figures published Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

NBC and ABC battled for second place in the 18 to 49 category, but both networks suffered as some returning dramas performed at or near all-time lows, and each outlet plunged 22% in young-adults compared with the same week last season.

NBC's "Heroes" is still a top 10 show but looks nothing like the era-defining hit it once seemed. On Wednesday, ABC watched the premieres of a trio of sophomore dramas crater: "Private Practice" (8.2 million), "Dirty Sexy Money" (7 million) and "Pushing Daisies" (6.3 million).

On basic cable, ESPN's Monday matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens was the week's top draw, with 11.8 million viewers.

scott.collins@latimes.com

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Here are the rankings for national prime-time network television last week (Sept. 29-Oct. 5) 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 18.88 2 NCIS CBS 17.47 3 60 Minutes CBS 16.65 4 Desperate Housewives ABC 15.68 5 Dancing With the Stars: Results ABC 15.49 *--*

*--* 6 The Mentalist CBS 15.48 7 CSI: NY CBS 14.88 8 Criminal Minds CBS 14.78 9 CSI: Miami CBS 14.34 10 Sunday Night Football NBC 14.21 *--*

*--* 11 Two and a Half Men CBS 13.58 12 Survivor: Gabon CBS 13.08 13 House FOX 12.98 14 America's Got Talent (Wed.) NBC 12.69 15 Without a Trace CBS 12.61 *--*

*--* 16 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (8 p.m.) ABC 11.83 17 Cold Case CBS 11.09 18 Amazing Race 13 CBS 11.00 19 Law & Order: SVU NBC 10.39 20 Brothers & Sisters ABC 10.33 *--*

*--* 21 Bones FOX 10.03 22 Fringe FOX 9.91 23 Vice Presidential Debate: Analysis ABC 9.78 Vice Presidential Debate: Analysis NBC 9.78 25 Heroes NBC 9.50 *--*

*--* 26 The Unit CBS 9.46 27 Ghost Whisperer CBS 9.45 28 Worst Week CBS 8.96 29 America's Funniest Home Videos ABC 8.92 30 NFL Pre-Game (Sun.) NBC 8.80 *--*

*--* 31 How I Met Your Mother CBS 8.72 32 The Big Bang Theory CBS 8.60 33 Boston Legal ABC 8.56 34 Family Guy FOX 8.38 35 Ugly Betty ABC 8.31 *--*

*--* 36 Numb3rs CBS 8.21 37 Private Practice ABC 8.16 38 Vice Presidential Debate: Analysis CBS 7.97 39 Knight Rider NBC 7.77 40 Football Night America (Part 3) NBC 7.50 *--*

*--* 41 The Simpsons FOX 7.41 42 The Biggest Loser 6 NBC 7.39 43 Dirty Sexy Money ABC 7.02 44 Life (Mon.) NBC 6.94 45 Gary Unmarried CBS 6.91 *--*

*--* 46 American Dad FOX 6.85 47 20/20 (Fri.) ABC 6.84 48 Chuck NBC 6.83 49 The New Adventures of Old Christine CBS 6.80 50 The Ex List CBS 6.79 *--*

*--* 51 Saturday Night Football ABC 6.74 52 My Name Is Earl NBC 6.72 53 King of the Hill FOX 6.59 54 Deal or No Deal (Fri.) NBC 6.35 55 Pushing Daisies ABC 6.33 *--*

*--* 56 Opportunity Knocks ABC 5.96 Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? FOX 5.96 58 America's Most Wanted FOX 5.95 59 Football Night America Part 2 NBC 5.67 60 Life NBC 5.54 *--*

*--* 61 Fuego en la Sangre (Wed.) UNI 5.38 62 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles FOX 5.37 63 Lipstick Jungle NBC 5.34 64 Law & Order: SVU (Sat.) NBC 5.30 65 Fuego en la Sangre (Tue.) UNI 5.28 *--*

*--* Prison Break FOX 5.28 67 Fuego en la Sangre (Thu.) UNI 5.20 68 Cops 2 FOX 5.18 69 Fuego en la Sangre (Mon.) UNI 4.95 70 Half Their Size ABC 4.88 *--*

*--* 71 Fuego en la Sangre (Fri.) UNI 4.64 72 Cops FOX 4.63 73 Elite XC (Sat.) CBS 4.56 74 48 Hours Mystery (8 p.m.) CBS 4.52 75 Cuidado con el Angel (Wed.) UNI 4.51 *--*

*--* 76 Football Pre-Game (Sat.) ABC 4.38 *--*

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 CBS 11.08 11.17

ABC 9.23 10.73

NBC 7.83 8.07

FOX 6.45 6.97

UNI 3.77 3.73

CW 2.43 2.67 *--*

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