'NCIS' nabs big audience, beats 'House'


UPDATED: Wed., Nov. 7, 2007 3:42 p.m.

NEW YORK -- The fifth season must be the charm for "NCIS," which racked up its second-largest-ever audience Tuesday night.

The CBS crime drama starring Mark Harmon even surpassed Fox's heavy hitter "House" in viewership though not in the adults 18-49 demographic, according to preliminary estimates released Wednesday by Nielsen Media Research.

Thanks to "NCIS" (18.3 million, 4.1 rating/11 share in adults 18-49), CBS easily won the 8 p.m hour in viewership and adults 18-49 while Fox's "Bones" (9.6 million, 3.6/9) came in second. "Bones" had its highest ratings of the season. There wasn't much good news at ABC at 8 p.m., with "Cavemen" (4.9 million, 1.7/5) and "Carpoolers" (5.5 million, 1.9/5) sinking to new lows.

"House" (18.1 million, 7.7/18) on the other hand, is doing just fine. It posted its highest-ever ratings without the help of "American Idol" and easily won Fox the night in primetime. ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" results show (16.9 million, 3.8/9) fell to a low so far this season. NBC's two-hour "The Biggest Loser" (7.9 million, 3.3/8) was up 18% compared with two weeks ago; it was pre-empted last week by a special "Phenomenon."

NBC's "Law & Order: SVU" (11.7 million, 4.2/12) won easily at 10 p.m. against ABC's "Boston Legal" (11 million, 2.7/7) and CBS' "Cane" (7.8 million, 1.9/5). "SVU" was a repeat last week but both "Boston Legal" and "Cane" were down. It was a new low for "Cane."

Fox (13.8 million, 5.6/14) won primetime in both key measures followed by NBC (9.2 million, 3.6/9); CBS (12.4 million, 3.0/8); ABC (11 million, 2.8/7); and the CW (2.5 million, 1.1/3).