'NCIS' leads CBS to Tues. win


NEW YORK -- "NCIS" pushed past "House" in viewership to lead CBS to a win Tuesday in the measure although "House" overwhelmingly took the demo to give Fox a primetime win in adults 18-49.

"NCIS" averaged 17.4 million viewers and a 4.3 rating/12 share in adults 18-49, according to preliminary estimates released Wednesday by Nielsen Media Research. It was the night's top show in viewership and also won the 8 p.m. hour for CBS against relatively light fare including ABC's "The Grinch That Stole Christmas" (11 million, 3.9/11), NBC's "Friday Night Lights" (5.7 million, 2.3/6) and Fox's "Standoff" (5 million, 1.9/5).

The 9 p.m. hour was all "House" (16.1 million, 6.5/17), which beat up on CBS's "The Unit" (13.5 million, 3.7/10) as well as a repeat "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (7.4 million, 2.1/5) plus the faltering ABC sitcoms "Big Day" (4.9 million, 1.8/5) and "Help Me Help You" (3.5 million, 1.4/3).

The CW averaged only 2.3 million viewers and a 0.9/2 in the demo with a repeat "Gilmore Girls" before falling even further with an hourlong telecast of the "Family Friend Awards" ( 1.7 million, 0.6/2).

The Big Three were bunched up at 10 p.m. in the adults 18-49 demo, with ABC's "Barbara Walters Special" (8.8 million, 3.1/9) taking the demo and a repeat "Criminal Minds" (10.4 million, 3.0/8) winning in viewership while a repeat "Law & Order: SVU" (8.8 million, 2.9/8) couldn't keep up.

Nightly averages: ABC (8 million, 2.9/8); CBS (13.8 million, 3.7/10); NBC (7.3 million, 2.4/7); Fox (10.6 million, 4.2/11); and The CW (2 million, 0.7/2).