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CBS sees record sixth straight demo win

CBS continued its sail into uncharted demo waters last week, riding the “CSI” franchise and pro football to a record-setting sixth consecutive primetime victory among young adults.

NBC got a nice boost from the finale of “The Apprentice 2,” but the Eye rallied late to victory thanks to Sunday’s combo of an NFL overrun and “60 Minutes.”

Overall for the Dec. 13-19 frame, according to Nielsen, CBS led in adults 18-49 with a 3.8 rating/11 share, followed by NBC’s 3.6/10, ABC’s 3.4/10 and Fox’s 2.5/7.

This makes it six straight weekly triumphs in the key demo for CBS –the best such stretch in Nielsen’s People Meter history (dating back to 1987). Net also won for an eighth consecutive frame in both adults 25-54 (4.7/12) and total viewers (12.6 million).

CBS was paced by the “CSI” franchise, with the “Miami” edition winning on Monday (7.5/19 in 18-49, 20.54m) and the “NY” version leading its Wednesday hour (5.4/15, 15.60m). A repeat of the original Las Vegas-set “CSI” (6.5/17, 19.51m) was a strong second in demos on Thursday opposite “The Apprentice.”

‘Two,’ ’60’ add up nicely

Also giving the Eye a nice lift last week was Monday comedy “Two and a Half Men” (5.8/14 in 18-49, 16.22m) and Sunday newsmag “60 Minutes” (5.0/13 in 18-49, 18.55m). Latter rode the momentum of the final 49 minutes of the NFL matchup between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Green Bay Packers (8.9/27 in 18-49, 24.44m), which became the fall’s No. 2-rated football telecast.

ABC’s Sunday smash “Desperate Housewives” racked up a 9.9/23 in 18-49 and 22.34 million viewers overall to rank as the week’s No. 1 program in both measures as well as 25-54 (10.8/22) and 12-34 (7.6/19).

Also for ABC, a special “George Lopez” at 9:30 on Tuesday delivered its best scores in more than eight months (3.9/10 in 18-49, 11.19m), and a repeat of the two-hour pilot of “Lost” did pretty well on Wednesday (4.3/12 in 18-49, 11.57m).

NBC was led by Thursday’s “The Apprentice 2” (7.8/21 in 18-49, 16.93m), which came in on par with its season average but well below last April’s first-edition finale (Daily Variety, Dec. 20). And another unscripted series, “The Biggest Loser” (4.6/12 in 18-49, 11.01m), hit a series-high rating and was Tuesday’s top show in 18-49.

Fox (2.5/7) had another quiet week, finishing closer in 18-49 to fifth-place UPN (1.4/4) than first-place CBS (3.8/11). A repeat of “The Simpsons” (at No. 20) was the net’s top-rated program in the demo (3.8/10), while Tuesday drama “House” continues to perform OK (2.6/7) relative to lead-in.

‘Model’ week for UPN

UPN had a nice week thanks to the finales of Wednesday’s “America’s Next Top Model” (2.9/8 in 18-49, 6.47m) and Thursday’s “Tough Enough” competition on “WWE Smackdown” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 5.32m).

“Top Model” led its hour in adults 18-34 (3.5/11) and women 18-34 (5.0/15) with its highest-rated finale to date, lifting the net past the WB for the week in key demos.

Frog’s premiere of unscripted dating show “Big Man on Campus” was nothing special Wednesday (1.1/3 in 18-49, 2.28m), although it accomplished the net’s goal of performing better than drama repeats.

ESPN led the ad-supported cable networks for the week thanks to NFL contests on both Saturday and Sunday. Latter game between the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens, in which the Colts’ Peyton Manning attempted to set the single-season touchdown record for quarterbacks, became the sixth most-watched cable telecast of all time (12.08 million) and ranked in the top 10 among all programs for the week in 18-49 (5.1/13).

National Geographic Channel set a network record Sunday night for the special “Unlocking Da Vinci’s Code: The Full Story,” which averaged 1.3 million viewers from 9 to 11.

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