‘Survivor’ sweeps bound

Thurs. night battle with 'Friends' season finale to heat up

CBS will extend its Outback trip an extra week: The Eye has moved the finale of “Survivor: The Australian Outback” to May 3, pushing the hit reality skein further into sweeps.

The move should give CBS extra ratings juice to defend its February sweeps total viewers victory come May. “Survivor” had originally been scheduled to finish on the first night of sweeps (April 26).

That would have concluded the NBC vs. CBS rivalry with three weeks to go in sweeps, giving the Peacock more Thursday night breathing room as “Friends” inches toward its Monica-Chandler wedding finale.

But with CBS now airing two episodes of “Survivor” in sweeps, the competish should suddenly get more interesting.

CBS will be able to extend “Survivor” a week by replacing the original episode on March 21 with a clip montage of highlights and never-seen footage from the show’s first eight episodes.

As previously announced, the web will detour the Thursday series to Wednesday, March 14, and Wednesday, March 21, due to NCAA tournament coverage. The reality skein moves back to Thursdays with an original episode on March 29.

Meanwhile, CBS has picked up the rest of its Monday night laffers for next season. Joining “Everybody Loves Raymond” on the renewal deck are “The King of Queens” and “Becker,” as well as freshman comedy “Yes, Dear.”

“King of Queens,” from Columbia TriStar TV and CBS Prods., has averaged a 5.3 Nielsen rating among adults 18 to 49, up 13% from last year, and 14 million viewers (up 5 percent). Paramount Network TV’s “Becker” averages a 5.9 rating with adults 18 to 49 (up 16%) and 16.5 million viewers (up 8%).

“Yes, Dear,” from 20th Century Fox TV and CBS Prods., has averaged a 5.5 rating with adults 18 to 49 and 13.7 million viewers. All three series are tops in their time slots with households and total viewers; “King of Queens” also wins its slot in adults 18 to 49.

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