‘Joe’ juices NBC’s Monday average

Skein excels despite going head-to-head with 'CSI'

Two weeks after Fox’s second edition of “Joe Millionaire” opened with nearly bankrupt numbers, NBC successfully launched “Average Joe” to well-above-average scores on Monday, including the best young-adult result for any new hourlong program this fall.

“Joe” excelled despite opposing CBS drama “CSI: Miami,” which hit season highs. The perky perfs for both are a good example of how distinct programming choices in an hour can bring more viewers to the set — something broadcasters may want to look at more closely at a time when the audience for each web is declining.

According to Nielsen, the Peacock’s “Average Joe” (5.8/15 in 18-49, 11.19 million viewers overall) placed just behind ABC’s second-place “Monday Night Football” from 10 to 11, with both trailing “CSI: Miami” (6.9/17 in 18-49, 19.52m).

This is NBC’s best regular-program in-season showing in the Monday-at-10 hour since May 2002, and it improved the net’s perf there this season with dramas (4.0) by 45% in 18-49. “Average Joe” also increased its audience on the half-hour, an especially good sign for a 10 o’clock program.

At the same time, not having drama competish helped “CSI: Miami,” which posted its best scores in about a year. The second-year drama is now in a neck-and-neck battle with NBC vet “Law & Order” for the season’s No. 3 drama ranking in 18-49, behind only “CSI” and “ER.”

NBC, which tied CBS for the night’s 18-49 lead (5.6/14), also did well from 8 to 10 with “Fear Factor” (6.1/16, best slot score since March) and “Las Vegas” (4.8/12, best result since its preem).

For CBS, “Everybody Loves Raymond” won at 9 (6.1/15 in 18-49, 18.62m) and rookie laffer “Two and a Half Men” (5.5/13, 16.02m) retained a strong 89% of its demo lead-in.

For the second straight week, ABC’s “Primetime” did well with a special edition focusing on a single subject. “Jesus, Mary and Da Vinci” (2.6/8 in 18-49, 9.36m) delivered strong numbers before and after football this week, following last week’s “Fat Like Me: How to Win the Fat War” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 7.62m).

The Patriots-Broncos game netted a 6.2/18 in 18-49, and 16.64 million viewers overall.

Through five nights of the four-week November sweeps period, NBC leads in adults 18-49 with a 4.5/13, followed by CBS (4.0/11), Fox (3.1/9), ABC (3.0/8), UPN (1.7/5) and the WB (1.4/4).

CBS leads easily in total viewers (14.6 million).

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