Surging series now Eye's top show of season

It’s getting a little crowded around the tribal council, as a record number of viewers peered in Wednesday to see the 11th person voted off CBS’ hugely popular “Survivor.”

According to Nielsen, the latest episode of the hit island-based reality series averaged a best-yet 28.00 million viewers — marking the sixth straight week that the series has gained viewers. It was up from 27.41 million a week ago and has now added an average of more than 12 million viewers since its May 31 premiere.

The huge turnout makes it the Eye net’s most-watched telecast of the season, topping February’s Grammy Awards (27.8 million). In prior weeks, “Survivor” had surpassed such annual sporting events as college football’s championship game on ABC (27.0 million) and the World Series on NBC (25.8 million).

Perhaps reflecting that the sun is now setting earlier (before “Survivor” starts), the show saw a boost of more than 1 million viewers in the first half-hour this week (25.69 million vs. 24.56) while viewing levels for the 8:30 half-hour remained basically the same (30.31 million vs. 30.26) compared with Aug. 2.

Building on its base

In key demos, “Survivor” also continues to build. This week’s seg, which was the last for college student Colleen, established new highs in adults 18-49 (12.1/38), adults 25-54 (12.9/37) and adults 18-34 (12.2/41) while matching its high in teens (7.1/28). This week’s biggest demo gainer was women 18-34 (12.2/41), whose 41 share is 3 higher than any previous episode.

“Survivor” lead-out “Big Brother” also gained viewers vs. a week ago (17.65 million vs. 17.44), delivering its most-watched episode since its July 5 premiere. It slipped a bit in most key demos, including adults 18-49 (8.1/26 vs. an 8.4/24 a week ago) and adults 18-34 (8.1/26 vs. 8.3/26).

“Survivor,” “Big Brother” and timeslot-winning scores for a special 10 p.m. “48 Hours” (10.78 million, 4.4/13 in A18-49) lifted CBS to victory on the night by 10 shares over NBC in homes (and 9.47 million viewers) and by 15 shares in adults 18-49 over both NBC and ABC.

Fox’s “American High” continued to get torpedoed by CBS’ reality combo. This week’s two segs of the high school reality series averaged 3.40 million viewers and a 1.5 rating in adults 18-49, down 20% and 17% respectively from its premiere last week (4.24 million, 1.8 in A18-49).

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