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Of course it did. CBS has to decide on the fate of medical drama “Three Rivers” soon in order to prevent a costly production stoppage. Odds of the show getting a full season order are slim, to say the least. Naturally, the medical drama abruptly rises to its highest rating ever.
With Mandy Patinkin as guest star, “Rivers” was up 11%, drawing 8.5 million viewers and a 2.0 preliminary adults 18-49 rating, followed by “Cold Case” (9.2 million, 2.1), which hit its best rating since early October, rising 24% from last week’s season low. “Rivers” climbed despite its lead in, “Amazing Race” (11.6 million, 3.2) dropping 9%.
CBS’ decision on “Rivers” is partly tied to the performance of “Cold Case.” Though the veteran drama has been doing poorly this season, some analysts have blamed “Rivers,” noting “Case” tends to perk up given a strong lead in — as evidenced by last night’s rise. “Rivers,” in other words, is not only blamed for losing its time period, but also for the weak “Case” performance. Even if “Rivers” ratings holds up in the nationals (there was some NFL overrun in some CBS markets that may have skewed these numbers) it’s tough to see the medical drama continuing, though stranger things have happened.
Fourth-ranked in the demo, CBS wasn’t the only network to see growth last night. NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” (19.1 million, 7.5) won the night with strong numbers. ABC was up across the board, with “Extreme Makeover” (11.6 million, 3.6) climbing 20%, followed by “Desperate Housewives” (14.4 million, 4.9) rising 11% to its largest audience in six weeks and “Brothers & Sisters” (10.2 million, 3.2) up 10% from last week’s season lows to generate its most-watched telecast in seven months.
On Fox, which ranked second in the demo on Sunday, two shows hit season lows for their regular time periods. Fox aired”Simpsons” (9 million, 4.2), “Cleveland Show” (7 million, 3.3), “FamilyGuy” (8.3 million, 4.1) and “American Dad” (6 million, 2.9). “Cleveland” hasn’t been in its regular spot in weeks and hit a low, while “American Dad” dipped to its lowest performance in that slot this season.
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