'Cold Case' comeback

Season-finale ratings boost renewal chances

After going three mornings without overnight ratings reports, broadcasters were relieved late Wednesday when Nielsen Media Research resumed sending its TV performance data.

Nielsen blamed the delays on server issues. The lack of information frustrated some in the industry during the crucial May sweep period, when broadcasters contemplate whether to renew primetime programs. With broadcast upfront presentations to advertisers right around the corner, a show rising or falling in the numbers can make the difference in deciding its fate.

Only Sunday's numbers are available for this week, but the evening provided a prime example of potentially game-changing information that is key to decision-makers.

CBS' "Cold Case" (12.5 million viewers, 2.9 adults 18-49 rating) is considered on the bubble for renewal and was up 38% to deliver its best performance in six weeks. The two-part season finale featured the music of Pearl Jam, including several cuts from the recent rerelease of the band's 1991 album "Ten."

Recent whispers have said a pickup for "Case" is probable, and Sunday's performance doesn't hurt. Its Sunday companion, "The Unit" (10 million, 2.4), is seen as more shaky, but the drama was up a few tenths.

ABC won the night in the adult demo (but lost to CBS in total viewers), led by a lower-than-usual "Desperate Housewives" (13.5 million, 4.4), which slipped this week. On NBC, "The Celebrity Apprentice" (8.7 million, 3.1) was on par. Back in its old time period, Fox's "King of the Hill" (5.1 million, 2.5) did better than "Sit Down, Shut Up's" recent performance but remained the weak link in the network's 8-10 p.m. lineup. Moved to 7 p.m., "Sit Down" (2.1 million, 0.8) dropped a dramatic 96%.

Last week's final numbers also were released, with Fox leading the pack in the adult demo (8.9 million, 3.2) and CBS (11.1 million, 2.7) winning in total viewers. ABC (8.4 million, 2.5), NBC (6.4 million, 2.1) and the CW (2 million, 0.9) followed. (partialdiff)