Keeping Eye on prize

CBS tops in viewers, demo for 2nd week in a row

For the second straight week, CBS won the ratings game among total viewers and in the adult demo, holding competitors at bay by airing four of the five top-rated programs.

The return of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (23.5 million viewers and a 7.1 rating/17 share in the adults 18-49 demographic) was the highest-rated show of the week. Although it was down 14% from its year-ago premiere, the erosion wasn't as steep as many returning veteran series have seen.

CBS' Monday comedy block continued to perform strong for the week ending Sunday, with all four half-hours posting gains from the previous week. Tuesday drama "NCIS" (16.3 million, 3.7/10) has been demonstrating real strength as well, posting its highest rating in nearly a year and easily ruling its time period. Even CBS' modestly rated Wednesday night comedies made gains, with "The New Adventures of Old Christine" (7.5 million, 2.2/7) and "Gary Unmarried" (7.4 million, 2.4/6) tying for second place in the 8 p.m. hour.

CBS' unexpected emergence as the ratings leader has been the surprise of the fall season, showing a consistency that has the network competitive in nearly every time period. However, the premiere of the new show "Eleventh Hour" (11.4 million, 3.2/9) arguably was an off-note. The series placed second in the 10 p.m. hour, falling 55% from its "CSI" lead-in.

"Hour" lost the slot to the premiere of ABC's only new drama this fall, "Life on Mars" (11.3 million, 3.7/10), which ranked as the best-rated drama series premiere this season.

ABC came in second for the week, led by "Desperate Housewives" (15.5 million, 5.9/14) and "Grey's Anatomy" (14.8 million, 5.6/13).

NBC and Fox tied for third, with the Peacock led by "Sunday Night Football" (13.1 million, 5.2/13). NBC had a rash of good news last week, with its Thursday primetime "Saturday Night Live" special (10.9 million, 5.1/12) tying CBS' "Two and a Half Men" (14.1 million, 5.1/12) as the sixth-highest-rated show of the week. Also Thursday, new comedy "Kath & Kim" (7.5 million, 3.2/9) had a respectable debut, and "ER" (9.4 million, 3.9/11) spiked for a rare win in the 10 p.m. hour.

Fox had a strong hour from "Bones" (10.6 million, 3.4/10), which has taken over its 8 p.m. Wednesday period. The net also aired a couple of National League Championship Series games. Thursday's Game 1 (7.7 million, 2.5/7) was up 14% from last year's opener, but Sunday's Game 3 (8.8 million, 2.8/7) was down 7% from the 2007 outing. (partialdiff)
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