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Prime-Time TV Rankings

CBS gains strength while NBC falters

October 15, 2008|Scott Collins

It's still early in the TV season, but CBS is shaping up as the network to beat. For the second straight week, the network won the prime-time ratings race in total viewers and in the advertiser-friendly young-adult demographics.

For the week ending Sunday, CBS was No. 1 on five nights, according to figures published Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research. The network had half of the top 10 shows, including the most-watched program with Thursday's Season 9 premiere of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (23.5 million viewers). "CSI" also beat ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" among young adults (18-to-49-year-olds) for the first time since the programs began head-to-head competition two years ago.

Overall, CBS led with a prime-time average of 11 million viewers, trailed by ABC (9.6 million), Fox (7.9 million) and NBC (7 million).

ABC drew strength from "Dancing With the Stars," but its new Thursday sci-fi cop drama, "Life on Mars" (11.3 million), had to split the audience with CBS' similarly themed "Eleventh Hour" (11.4 million).

NBC continued to struggle for traction, although a small dollop of good news came from the comedy premiere of "Kath & Kim" (7.5 million), which built on the (low) numbers for "My Name Is Earl." Fox's numbers were aided by a Sunday football overrun.

On basic cable, ESPN led the way with Monday's matchup between the Vikings and the Saints with 11 million viewers, which would have ranked it 18th for the week among programs on the broadcast networks.

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Here are the rankings for national prime-time network television last week (Oct. 6-12) 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. 2 and older. Viewership is listed in millions.

*--* Program Network Viewers 1 CSI CBS 23.48 2 Dancing With the Stars ABC 18.59 3 NCIS CBS 16.29 4 Criminal Minds CBS 16.18 5 CSI: NY CBS 15.87 *--*

*--* 6 Desperate Housewives ABC 15.50 7 Dancing With the Stars Results ABC 15.06 8 Grey's Anatomy ABC 14.80 9 The OT FOX 14.23 10 Two and a Half Men CBS 14.07 *--*

*--* 11 CSI: Miami CBS 13.88 12 Survivor: Gabon CBS 13.28 13 Football: Patriots at Chargers NBC 13.05 14 Eleventh Hour CBS 11.37 15 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (8 p.m.) ABC 11.34 *--*

*--* 16 Life on Mars ABC 11.33 17 Cold Case CBS 10.99 18 SNL: Weekend Update (Thu.) NBC 10.85 19 60 Minutes CBS 10.75 20 Bones FOX 10.56 *--*

*--* 21 NFL Pre-Game NBC 9.98 22 Debate Analysis ABC 9.92 23 Brothers & Sisters ABC 9.90 24 Ghost Whisperer CBS 9.69 25 ER NBC 9.41 *--*

*--* 26 The Big Bang Theory CBS 9.39 27 Baseball Pre-Game FOX 9.33 28 The Office NBC 9.24 29 The Unit CBS 9.10 30 The Amazing Race CBS 9.01 *--*

*--* 31 How I Met Your Mother CBS 8.98 32 Worst Week CBS 8.85 33 Baseball: Phillies at Dodgers (Sun.) FOX 8.84 34 Boston Legal ABC 8.75 35 Ugly Betty ABC 8.52 *--*

*--* 36 Debate Analysis NBC 8.35 37 Heroes NBC 8.20 38 Numb3rs CBS 8.01 39 Debate Analysis CBS 7.95 40 Baseball: Dodgers at Phillies (Thu.) FOX 7.73 *--*

*--* 41 Football Night America Part 3 NBC 7.56 42 The New Adventures of Old Christine CBS 7.53 43 Kath & Kim NBC 7.51 44 Private Practice ABC 7.40 45 Gary Unmarried CBS 7.36 *--*

*--* 46 Biggest Loser 6 NBC 7.26 47 My Name Is Earl NBC 7.17 48 20/20 ABC 7.02 49 Knight Rider NBC 6.86 50 Deal or No Deal (Fri.) NBC 6.63 *--*

*--* 51 Biggest Loser (Wed.) NBC 6.56 52 House FOX 6.36 53 America's Funniest Home Videos ABC 6.29 54 NASCAR: Bank of America 500 ABC 6.03 55 College Football: LSU at Florida CBS 5.96 *--*

*--* 56 Fuego en La Sangre (Thu.) UNI 5.94 57 Dirty Sexy Money ABC 5.85 58 Chuck NBC 5.83 59 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles FOX 5.73 60 Fuego en La Sangre (Tue.) UNI 5.63 *--*

*--* 61 The Ex List CBS 5.60 62 Life (Mon.) NBC 5.58 63 Fuego en La Sangre (Mon.) UNI 5.53 Cops (8:30 p.m.) FOX 5.53 65 Pushing Daisies ABC 5.50 *--*

*--* 66 Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? FOX 5.44 67 America's Most Wanted: America Fights Back FOX 5.43 68 Fuego en La Sangre (Wed.) UNI 5.40 69 Prison Break FOX 5.37 70 Life NBC 4.98 *--*

*--* 71 Supernanny ABC 4.96 Cuidado con El Angel (Thu.) UNI 4.96 73 Don't Forget the Lyrics FOX 4.83 74 Lipstick Jungle NBC 4.76 75 Cuidado con El Angel (Wed.) UNI 4.72 *--*

*--* 76 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (Sat.) NBC 4.69 77 Cops FOX 4.68 78 Querida Enemiga (Tue.) UNI 4.64 Cuidado con El Angel (Tue.) UNI 4.64 80 Til Death FOX 4.61 *--*

*--* 81 Cuidado con El Angel (Mon.) UNI 4.52 82 Baseball Pre-Game FOX 4.50 83 Fuego en La Sangre (Fri.) UNI 4.34 84 Querida Enemiga (Thu.) UNI 4.20 85 Querida Enemiga (Mon.) UNI 4.16 *--*

*--* 86 Querida Enemiga (Wed.) UNI 4.14 87 Cuidado con El Angel (Fri.) UNI 4.12 Smallville CW 4.12 89 Debate Analysis FOX 4.11 90 Wife Swap ABC 4.10 *--*

*--* 91 America's Toughest Jobs NBC 3.97 92 America's Next Top Model CW 3.93 93 Til Death (Wed.) (9:30 p.m.) FOX 3.81 *--*

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 10.96 11.11

ABC 9.59 10.35

NBC 7.00 7.72

FOX 7.96 7.33

UNI 3.90 3.79 *--*

-- Scott Collins

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