Only football interrupted CBS' dominance over last week's most-watched prime-time television programs, leading to its 11th first-place finish in the season's 12 weeks.
CBS had seven of the week's nine most-watched shows and averaged 10.55 million viewers for its prime-time programming between Dec. 7 and Sunday, according to figures released Tuesday by the Nielsen Co.
CBS was bolstered by a series-high 14.38 million viewers for "The Big Bang Theory" and season-highs for "The Mentalist," "Two and a Half Men," "Survivor: Samoa," "Cold Case" and "The New Adventures of Old Christine," while reruns of "NCIS" and "NCIS Los Angeles" drew more viewers than all the scripted programming on the other networks.
NBC was second for the week with 8.76 million viewers. "Sunday Night Football" was the overwhelming choice as the week's most-watched prime-time program on the broadcast networks for the second consecutive week, averaging 20.88 million viewers, 4.45 million more than the runner-up, CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."
The finale of the eighth cycle of "The Biggest Loser" was 10th with 13.45 million viewers, the largest audience for the NBC weight loss competition series since the finale of its second cycle on Nov. 29, 2005 and the third largest ever, behind the finales of the first and second cycles.
"The Jay Leno Show" averaged 5.64 million viewers for its five episodes last week, its largest weekly average since its third week. Its Tuesday episode, which followed "The Biggest Loser" finale, was 34th for the week with 8.33 million viewers, its most since Sept. 17, three days after its premiere.
In premium cable, Sunday's fourth-season finale of "Dexter" delivered 2.5 million viewers, making the vigilante-cop drama Showtime's most-watched telecast since a Mike Tyson fight a decade ago.