'Survivor' climbs to new highs, boosts 'Brother'

Island fever continues to be this summer’s epidemic of choice, as CBS’ “Survivor” added another million viewers Wednesday and surged to new highs in key demo categories.

The 10th week of the adventure-reality series averaged 27.18 million viewers and an 11.9/36 adults 18-49 rating, according to Nielsen, repping gains of 4% over previous series bests set a week earlier. Seg built in its final half-hour by a best-yet 18% in viewers (29.46 million vs. 24.90) and by 21% in young adults (10.8 to 13.1).

“Survivor” also served as a more compatible lead-in for the net’s similarly themed “Big Brother,” which delivered its best numbers since its premiere July 5.

‘Brother-ly’ boost

“Brother” averaged 16.92 million viewers and an adults 18-49 rating of 8.0/22 from 9 to 10, retaining 67% of its “Survivor” demo lead-in. It’s a hold that’s considerably better than the 45% CBS had been seeing in the hour with movies and other series programming but, not surprisingly, it’s far from the 93% “Brother” delivered with its much-hyped premiere.

“Brother” dropped by a respectable 6% in its second half-hour (from 8.2 to 7.7) and won at 9:30 in the demo by 11 shares over reruns of NBC’s “West Wing” and ABC’s “Spin City.”

CBS moved the hourlong “live” edition of “Big Brother” to Wednesday from Thursday in hopes of boosting the series, which has been a solid, but not sensational, ratings performer with its multiple weekly airings. While Wednesday’s hour enabled more people to catch up with the goings-on of the sequestered housemates, it remains to be seen if this translates into ratings spikes on other nights.

What is clear, now more than ever, is that in the CBS reality family, “Survivor” is the real big brother.

Huge numbers

This week’s seg, which saw college student and mother Jenna voted off the island by her fellow castaways, delivered a larger audience than every episode of ABC’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” since May 21.

“Survivor” achieved new demo highs in a number of categories including: women 25-54 (13.5/36), men 25-54 (12.0/36), women 18-34 (13.0/39), men 18-34 (10.6/37) and men 18-49 (11.2/36).

From 8:30 to 9, CBS topped the combined adults 18-49 averages of the other five nets by 56% (13.1 vs. 8.4).

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