TV Ratings: CBS Is No. 1 Network for First Three Weeks of Season

ABC sinks to a third-place tie with NBC, while Fox registers the biggest year-over-year increase.
Adam Rose/Warner Bros./CBS

Three weeks into the new broadcast season, CBS is the No. 1 network in total viewers and key 18-49 demographic. (CBS also leads in the 25-54 demographic, where it has traditionally been out front.)

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CBS is averaging 12.6 million viewers in primetime with a 3.4 rating in the 18-49 demo, up 3 percent year-to-year in the demo and flat in total viewers. The network got off to an early lead with the monster Sept. 19 premiere of Two And A Half Men, which was watched by nearly 30 million viewers. With Ashton Kutcher as its new star, the series is the seasons top comedy among total viewers and the 18-49 demo. And NCIS is still performing well in its ninth season; it’s the No. 1 drama in viewers and the demo.

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Second place Fox (averaging a 3.1 in the demo) has seen the biggest ratings bump so far this season, up 11 percent thanks to strong tune-in for Simon Cowell’s The X Factor and new Zooey Deschanel comedy The New Girl. Fox is also the only network up among total viewers, averaging 8.0 million for the first three weeks of the season.

Meanwhile ABC had sunk to a third place tie with NBC with both networks averaging a 2.6 rating in the demo. That marks a 4 percent decline for ABC, which is second among total viewers with 9.4 million, and a seven percent decline for NBC, proving that the network’s rebuilding is still very much a work in progress. NBC is also down six percent among total viewers averaging 7.5 million.

And the CW has plummeted double-digits in both the 18-49 demo (0.8 rating, down 33 percent) and total viewers (1.8 million, down 25 percent).

[All numbers are based on most current Nielsen data for Sept. 19-Oct. 9, 2011.]