CBS shares demo lead for week

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CBS pulled into a tie with ABC for No. 1 in the adults 18-49 demographic last week for the first time this season.

CBS and ABC were neck and neck for weekly bragging rights in adults 18-49 with an average 4.0 rating/11 share for the week ending Oct. 15, according to Nielsen Media Research. CBS maintained its comfortable lead in the total viewers column for the fifth consecutive week with an average of 13.3 million, followed by ABC (11.5 million), NBC (10.3 million), Fox (8.2 million) and the CW (3.5 million). In adults 18-49, NBC wasn't too far behind the leaders (3.7/10), but Fox trailed (2.5/7). CW pulled a 1.7/5 for the week in its adults 18-34 target, aided by week-to-week gains from "Gilmore Girls," "America's Next Top Model" and "One Tree Hill."

CBS' bounce in the week ending Oct. 15 came from its bench strength with its "CSI" dramas, though it was notable that the Wednesday 10 p.m. "CSI: NY" (18 million, 6.0/16) outdrew the Monday 10 p.m. stalwart "CSI: Miami" (17.6 million, 5.7/14). The star player for CBS this fall has been "Criminal Minds" (16.7 million, 4.5/11), which has done a yeoman's job of competing with ABC's formidable "Lost" (16.9 million, 6.9/17) in the Wednesday 9 p.m. berth.

On the downside, CBS' Monday comedy block is feeling the heat of intensified competition from 8-10 p.m. from NBC, starting at 8 p.m. with "Deal or No Deal" (15.4 million, 4.4/12) and continuing at 9 p.m. with the sleeper hit "Heroes" (13.3 million, 5.9/14). CBS swapped the time slots of its 8-9 p.m. combo of "How I Met Your Mother" (9.1 million, 3.4/10) and "The Class" (9.3 million, 3.5/9) last week to the benefit of rookie "Class," which shifted from 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

NBC got some good news from the Friday 9 p.m. debut of Bob Saget-hosted game show "1 vs. 100" (12.8 million, 4.2/13), which did surprisingly well in tandem with 8 p.m.'s "Deal or No Deal" (11.5 million, 3.2/11). The bad news for the peacock came Wednesday with the weak starts for new 8-9 p.m. comedies "30 Rock" (8.1 million, 2.9/8) and "Twenty Good Years" (7.1 million, 2.5/7).

Thursday continues to be a busy night for the Big Three networks. NBC's 8-9 p.m. combo "My Name Is Earl" (9.8 million, 3.9/12) and "The Office" (8.8 million, 4.1/11) have come back to life somewhat against a newly strong ABC with "Ugly Betty" (14 million, 4.3/12) and CBS' "Survivor: Cook Islands" (15.8 million, 5.5/15).

At 9 p.m., ABC and CBS fought for the attention of more than 40 million viewers before ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" (22.9 million, 9.4/22) scored another clean victory against CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (21.9 million, 7.5/18). NBC capped the night with a decisive win by "ER" (14.6 million, 6.1/16) against CBS' "Shark" (14.2 million, 4.0/11) and ABC's "Six Degrees" (8.7 million, 3.6/10). "ER" in fact ranked as NBC's most-watched program of the week, besting even "Sunday Night Football" (12.3 million, 4.7/12).

Baseball's American League and National League championship series didn't stir up much heat for Fox last week. Of the five championship series games on Fox's primetime lineup last week, the most-watched was Wednesday's ALCS Game 2 (9.9 million, 3.2/9) as the Detroit Tigers bested the Oakland A's as they closed in on their first World Series appearance since 1984.
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