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PRIME-TIME TV RANKINGS

CBS, again No. 1, gains as rival networks falter

October 22, 2008|Scott Collins

CBS won its third straight week in the prime-time ratings, propelled by strong showings for "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and "NCIS" as well as the fall's top new show, "The Mentalist."

The network had half of the 10 most-watched shows -- including No. 1 "CSI" (19.3 million viewers) -- and won every night except Monday and Wednesday for the week ending Oct. 19, according to figures published Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

CBS was also first in the advertiser-friendly demographic of viewers ages 18 to 49. The network was the only network to post year-to-year gains in every category and was up 4% in viewers; its competitors all plunged by double digits.

Overall, CBS averaged 11.5 million viewers, leading ABC (9.1 million), NBC (7.2 million) and Fox (6.7 million).

The new season has been particularly tough for ABC, which watched the second airing of its only new scripted show, the cop drama "Life on Mars," tumble by 32% in the 18-49 demographic.

Basic cable viewing was dominated by postseason baseball and Wednesday's third and final presidential debate. The most-watched program was TBS' Sunday game between the Red Sox and the Rays (13.4 million).

-- Scott Collins

Here are the rankings for national prime-time network television last week (Oct. 13-19) 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 CSI CBS 19.27 2 NCIS CBS 18.04 3 Dancing With the Stars ABC 17.76 4 Desperate Housewives ABC 15.48 5 The Mentalist CBS 14.93 *--*

*--* 6 Dancing With the Stars: Results ABC 14.82 7 Grey's Anatomy (Thu., 9 p.m.) ABC 14.80 8 Two and a Half Men CBS 14.72 9 60 Minutes CBS 14.53 10 House FOX 13.27 *--*

*--* 11 CSI: Miami CBS 13.22 12 Survivor: Gabon CBS 12.81 13 Eleventh Hour CBS 11.91 14 Samantha Who? ABC 11.45 15 Cold Case CBS 11.29 *--*

*--* 16 Without a Trace CBS 11.05 17 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (8 p.m.) ABC 10.91 18 The Amazing Race CBS 10.29 19 Sunday Night Football NBC 10.01 20 Brothers & Sisters ABC 9.82 *--*

*--* 21 Worst Week CBS 9.75 22 Law & Order: SVU NBC 9.51 23 The Big Bang Theory CBS 9.34 24 How I Met Your Mother CBS 9.25 25 Fringe FOX 9.16 *--*

*--* 26 Presidential Debate Analysis (Wed.) NBC 9.09 27 Family Guy FOX 9.01 28 Ghost Whisperer CBS 8.97 29 E.R. NBC 8.96 30 Presidential Debate Analysis (Wed.) ABC 8.86 *--*

*--* 31 SNL: Weekend Update (Thu.) NBC 8.83 32 Heroes NBC 8.75 33 Numb3rs CBS 8.68 34 Eli Stone ABC 8.39 35 Ugly Betty ABC 8.33 *--*

*--* 36 The Unit CBS 8.28 -- The Office NBC 8.28 38 Life on Mars ABC 8.22 39 The Simpsons FOX 8.16 40 Baseball: NLCS Game 5 FOX 8.03 *--*

*--* 41 Boston Legal ABC 8.01 42 America's Funniest Home Videos ABC 7.80 43 Baseball: NLCS Game 4 FOX 7.70 44 Biggest Loser NBC 7.64 45 The New Adventures of Old Christine CBS 7.61 *--*

*--* 46 Gary Unmarried CBS 7.53 47 Knight Rider NBC 7.47 48 King of the Hill FOX 7.40 49 Crusoe NBC 7.38 -- NFL Pre-Game NBC 7.38 *--*

*--* 51 My Own Worst Enemy NBC 7.27 52 Presidential Debate Analysis (Wed.) CBS 7.19 53 20/20 (Fri.) ABC 6.93 54 My Name Is Earl NBC 6.72 55 Football Night America (Part 3) NBC 6.70 *--*

*--* 56 American Dad FOX 6.63 57 48 Hours Mystery CBS 6.43 58 Crimetime Saturday CBS 6.33 59 The Ex List CBS 6.29 60 Chuck NBC 6.17 *--*

*--* 61 Pushing Daisies ABC 6.11 62 Kath & Kim NBC 6.10 63 Life NBC 5.89 64 Crimetime Saturday (8 p.m.) CBS 5.65 65 Cops (Sat., 9:30 p.m.) FOX 5.63 *--*

*--* -- Cops (Sat., 9 p.m.) FOX 5.63 67 Are You Smarter thana Fifth Grader? (Fri. 9 p.m.) FOX 5.62 68 Fuego en la Sangre (Tue.) UNI 5.19 -- Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader? FOX 5.19 70 Opportunity Knocks ABC 5.15 *--*

*--* 71 The Simpsons (Sun., 7:30 p.m.) FOX 5.14 72 Supernanny ABC 5.12 73 Baseball: NLCS Game 5 FOX 5.11 74 Cops 2 FOX 5.01 75 Fuego en la Sangre (Thu.) UNI 5.00 *--*

*--* 76 Fuego en la Sangre (Mon.) UNI 4.99 77 College Football (Sat.) ABC 4.97 78 Wife Swap ABC 4.95 79 Cuidado con el Angel (Wed.) UNI 4.85 80 Cuidado con el Angel (Thu.) UNI 4.76 *--*

*--* 81 Law & Order: SVU (Sat.) NBC 4.74 -- College Football Pre-Game (Sat.) ABC 4.74 83 Cuidado con el Angel (Tue.) UNI 4.68 84 Fuego en la Sangre (Fri.) UNI 4.65 85 Cuidado con el Angel (Fri.) UNI 4.51 *--*

*--* -- Cuidado con el Angel (Mon.) UNI 4.51 87 Cops FOX 4.34 88 Football Night America (Part 2) NBC 4.23 89 Smallville CW 4.18 90 Baseball: NLCS Game 4 FOX 4.07 *--*

*--* 91 Querida Enemiga (Wed.) UNI 4.05 92 Querida Enemiga (Tue.) UNI 3.97 93 Querida Enemiga (Mon.) UNI 3.88 94 Hole in the Wall (Thu., 8:30 p.m.) FOX 3.70 95 Rosa de Guadalupe (Thu.) UNI 3.62 *--*

*--* 96 Querida Enemiga (Fri.) UNI 3.60 -- Querida Enemiga (Thu.) UNI 3.60 98 Hole in the Wall (Thu., 8 p.m.) FOX 3.56 99 Kitchen Nightmares FOX 3.50 100 One Tree Hill (Mon.) CW 3.47 *--*

*--* 101 Rosa de Guadalupe (Fri.) UNI 3.33 *--*

*--* 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 11.47 11.2 ABC 9.15 10.05 NBC 7.21 7.59 FOX 6.73 7.16 UNI 3.85 3.8 *--*

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