‘Survivor’ ratings keep climbing

Series posts third straight gain in aud, key demos

There’s still plenty of life left in “Survivor.”

The CBS reality adventure series has defied the odds by improving on its audience and demo numbers for a third straight week. Nearly 1 million more viewers tuned in to Wednesday’s seg, which saw a now-famous 29-year-old chemist named Ramona voted off the island.

It’s highly unusual for a series to improve on its premiere numbers, let alone to do it again and again in subsequent weeks — but that’s just what “Survivor” has done.

According to Nielsen, the fourth seg of the 13-week series improved vs. the previous week by 4% in total viewers (24.22 million vs. 23.25), by 4% in adults 18-49 (9.8/33 vs. 9.4/29), by 3% in adults 25-54 (10.2/32 vs. 9.9/29) and by 5% in adults 18-34 (9.8/35 vs. 9.3/31). CBS once again easily topped the combined audience of the other five broadcast nets in each of these categories.

The week-four “Survivor” gains are more modest compared with its rocketlike ascent the two previous weeks, but a leveling off period had to be expected at some point; and CBS will certainly take any growth for a series that has already well exceeded first-month ratings projections.

More gains can be expected during the final nine weeks as well, as the level of interest surrounding the drama of which contestant will be left standing figures to swell in the weeks leading up to the Aug. 23 finale.

“Survivor’s” demo shares jumped considerably compared with the previous week, a reflection of less competition from NBC in cities like Los Angeles and Indianapolis now that the NBA Finals have wrapped. For the first time, “Survivor” finished first in all 48 of Nielsen’s metered markets.

Just four weeks into its run, “Survivor” has posted shares in the key demos that surpass some of the top series and specials in primetime.

While the Eye series has the clear advantage of airing opposite mostly rerun competition, it’s worth nothing that Wednesday’s episode commanded a bigger slice of the adults 18-49 viewing pie (a 33 share) than all of the non-celebrity editions of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” that have aired on ABC. It’s also better than the 30 share that CBS scored in the Wednesday at 8 hour with the Grammys in February and it tops the in-season average of TV’s No. 1 show in the demo, NBC’s “ER” (31).

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