CBS takes total, Peacock goes young

The finale of “Survivor: Africa” lifted CBS to another victory last week in total viewers, while NBC scored an impressive victory in young adults.

According to Nielsen estimates for Jan. 7-13, the Peacock net used its regular sked to top its rivals in all key demos, including a 12th victory in 16 weeks this season in adults 18-49.

The strong perf, achieved with its regular lineup intact, underscores NBC’s strength and consistency with series programming. The frame included the “Survivor” finale and “People’s Choice Awards” on CBS, and two big National Football League games and the “American Music Awards” on ABC.

ABC (4.9/12) and CBS (4.7/12) notched their best 18-49 scores of the season, but it wasn’t quite enough to top the Peacock (5.0/13).

As midseason approaches, NBC finds itself comfortably ahead in adults 18-49 (4.7/12) — with ABC, CBS and Fox tied for second in a historically close battle (4.0/11).

CBS remains the leader in total viewers after its ninth triumph in 10 weeks. Net, which was second last week in adults 25-54 and a close third in adults 18-49, looked good on every night except Friday and Saturday.

The finale of “Survivor: Africa” drew 25% fewer viewers than the conclusion of “Survivor: The Australian Outback” in May (27.26 million vs. 36.35m) but it still ranked as the week’s most-watched program. It was also No. 3 in adults 18-49 (11.3/25), behind two NBC programs that also aired on Thursday: “Friends” (12.8/30) and “ER” (12.7/29).

ABC’s strongest week since March was driven by a dominant showing on Saturday with a primetime NFL playoff game (22.03 million, 9.3/26 in adults 18-49) and a winning Wednesday perf with the “AMAs” (16.02m, 7.3/18).

Net, which won the week in all adult male demos, figures to have a tough go of things the rest of the season now that its primetime football coverage has wrapped.

Fox suffered through a miserable week, down more than 30% compared with the same frame a year ago, when “Temptation Island” premiered. Net saw solid showings for some of its series, including the premiere of gamer “The Chair” on Sunday, but nothing really popped.

UPN again topped the WB in most key demos. Among the firstrun weblet programming, the Frog fared best with Friday laffer “Reba” and the bow of Sunday sketch-comedy show “The Jamie Kennedy Experiment.”

Monday

All four CBS comedies won their half-hours in total viewers and adults 25-54 on Jan. 14, boosting the net to victory by these measures as well as adults 18-49 (5.4/13). Only a weak showing for the net’s “Family Law” (11.18m, 3.8/10) kept the night close, with Fox and NBC tying for second in 18-49 with a 5.0/12.

NBC’s “Fear Factor” matched its week-earlier premiere score (5.4/13 in 18-49), but this time it was enough to notch a narrow victory over CBS’ comedies (5.3/13) and Fox’s “Boston Public” (5.1/13). It’s the first in-season victory in the 8 o’clock hour for NBC since April (“Weakest Link”).

Elsewhere, NBC’s “Crossing Jordan” grabbed its best score since its preem (5.4/14 in 18-49), while ABC theatrical “Forces of Nature” fizzled (7.15m, 2.7/6).

And from the Mighty Have Fallen category: CBS’ “Becker” topped “Ally McBeal” in adults 18-34 for the first time (4.7/12 vs. 4.5/11), and the WB’s “7th Heaven” bested an Olympics edition of ABC’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” by 2 shares in adults 18-49 (2.9/7 vs. 2.0/5).

Sunday

CBS won as “60 Minutes,” with an NFL playoff game as a lead-in, grabbed its largest aud since March 2000 (19.29m) and its best 18-49 rating (5.0/13) since December 2000. Net’s “People’s Choice Awards” (15.20m, 5.6/13) also contributed, building nicely off a weak lead-in from “The Education of Max Bickford” (12.15m, 2.9/7).

“Jamie Kennedy Experiment” bowed impressively for the WB at 8, matching the net’s time period record in men 18-49 (1.7/4) and delivering the highest adults 18-49 (also 1.7/4) for any Sunday series on the Frog this season.

With ABC’s “Alias” in repeat, NBC’s “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” won the 9 o’clock drama battle (4.4/10 in 18-49) over Fox’s “The X-Files” (4.2/9), although both trailed the first hour of “People’s Choice” (5.1/13).

Saturday

A primetime NFL playoff game (New York Jets-Oakland Raiders) dominated the night for ABC (22.03m, 9.3/26 in 18-49). It drew the largest Saturday aud for ABC since a World Series game in 1995, while the demo score is the best on a Saturday for any net since the second weekend of the Nagano Winter Olympics on CBS in February 1998.

Fox was a distant second in 18-49 (3.1/9), while NBC didn’t fare too well with the eighth network television run of “The Bodyguard” (2.4/6) — a pic that has aired in the past 13 months on CBS, ABC and NBC.

Friday

NBC won every half-hour in viewers and 18-49, highlighted by the largest turnout in 10 months for “Providence” (13.48m).

CBS’ “The Ellen Show” (5.93m, 1.9/6 in 18-49) continues to struggle, falling 8 shares out of the 18-49 lead. The WB’s “Reba,” on the other hand, is standing out as the net’s strongest comedy, ranking as the night’s top laffer on any net in adults 18-34 (1.6/6).

Thursday

NBC took the night in adults 18-49 and female demos while CBS (with its three hours of “Survivor: Africa” coverage) moved ahead in total viewers, adults 25-54 and most male demos (Daily Variety, Jan. 14).

The other nets battled for scraps, with only UPN’s “WWF Smackdown!” (6.81m, 2.8/6 in 18-49) doing much among viewers under 50. “Smackdown!” even topped ABC, Fox and the WB in women 18-34.

Wednesday

Despite airing opposite a repeat of CBS’ Michael Jackson concert spec and NBC’s strong dramas, the “American Music Awards” on ABC grabbed its highest adults 18-49 share (18) in four years (Daily Variety, Jan. 11). ABC won the night in 18-49, with NBC edging ahead in total viewers.

Tuesday

CBS took the night in adults 25-54 (5.3/12) and total viewers, highlighted by the first win in the latter for “The Guardian” (13.33m) since “NYPD Blue” invaded the 9 o’clock hour in early November.

Fox won in 18-49 as “24” (4.3/10) improved for a second straight outing.

Monday

A meaningful (for the playoffs) Baltimore Ravens-Minnesota Vikings contest Jan. 7 produced the strongest ratings in four years for a closing game of ABC’s “Monday Night Football” (18.79m, 7.4/19 in 18-49).

NBC’s “Fear Factor” made a strong series debut at 8 (5.4/13 in 18-49) but was edged out by CBS comedies (Daily Variety, Jan. 9).

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more