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CBS tops mild Monday

Network wins over repeats, specials

Auds continue to flock to the games of the undefeated New England Patriots, who bring boffo ratings with them as they attempt to make NFL history. The concluding portion of the Pats’ late-afternoon game against the Pittsburgh Steelers scored monster numbers for CBS on Sunday, giving the net the boost it needed to claim the week in primetime among young adults.

The season’s three highest-rated pro football games have all featured the Patriots — against Indianapolis, Dallas and Pittsburgh — and aired on CBS.

But last week the Pats also scored big for ESPN, whose “Monday Night Football” matchup between the Patriots and Baltimore Ravens became the most-watched program in cable history with 17.52 million viewers.

Nail-biter game also logged a huge 7.0 rating/18 share among adults 18-49, putting it just a tick behind ABC drama “Grey’s Anatomy” (7.1/17) as the week’s No. 1 primetime program in the key demo, according to Nielsen.

It was CBS, though, with football, crime dramas and its annual visit from “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” that notched victory for the week of Dec. 3-9 in adults 18-49. The Eye’s 3.1 rating/8 share edged out ABC and NBC (both at 2.9/8), followed by Fox (2.3/6), Univision (1.6/4), ESPN (1.3/3) and CW (1.0/3).

CBS also won in adults 25-54 (3.8/9 to a 3.3/8 for both ABC and NBC) and ruled in total viewers (10.5 million to 8.8 million for runner-up ABC). NBC edged past its rivals to score a victory in the 12-34 demo (2.2/7).

For the Eye, Sunday’s 20-minute overrun of New England’s 34-13 showdown victory over Pittsburgh averaged a monster 13.5/38 in 18-49 and 37.33 million viewers overall. That helped the CBS shows behind it, “60 Minutes” (4.2/11, 16.50m) and “The Amazing Race” (3.9/9, 11.95m), deliver above-average results.

On Tuesday, “Rudolph” (5.1/14, 14.55m) dominated the 8 o’clock hour with the net’s best demo score in the timeslot in more than a year. Another Christmas chestnut, “Frosty the Snowman,” ruled its 8 o’clock half-hour on Friday for CBS (2.7/9, 8.05m).

Also contributing for the Eye were Thursday’s combo of “Survivor” (4.5/12, 13.86m) and “CSI” (5.5/13, 18.80m), while two-hour Friday spec “Movies Rock” posted OK results (1.8/6, 5.89m). “CSI” was the week’s No. 3 program in 18-49 and No. 1 in total viewers.

ABC was led by Thursday’s “Grey’s Anatomy” (7.1/17, 17.78m) and spec “Barbara Walters Presents the 10 Most Fascinating People of 2007” (4.4/12, 11.31m), with both shows winning their hours in key demos.

Wednesday saw “Private Practice” prevail (3.8/10, 10.40m), while the net also got a nice boost Saturday from theatrical “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (2.4/8, 7.01m).

“Samantha Who?” (2.9/6, 7.16m) is doing OK Mondays at 9, but the very femme-skewing laffer doesn’t appear to be strong enough on its own to take on TV’s No. 1 comedy in female demos: CBS’ “Two and a Half Men.” Repeats of “Men” have easily defeated it the past two weeks.

On Sunday, the awkwardly titled original telepic “Oprah Winfrey Presents Mitch Albom’s For One More Day” did OK numbers (3.2/8, 12.53m) but wasn’t in the same league as some of the other pics airing under the Winfrey banner.

NBC’s competitive perf for the week was highlighted by “Sunday Night Football” (albeit a below-average 4.9/12 in 18-49, 12.73 million viewers overall for the lopsided Indianapolis-Baltimore game) and Monday’s tandem of “Heroes” (5.0/11, 11.06m) and “Chuck” (3.2/8, 8.41m). Opposite less intense competish, “Chuck” won its hour in demos for the first time.

Two-hour editions of “The Biggest Loser” (3.2/8, 8.32m) and “Deal or No Deal” (2.8/8, 11.33m) on Wednesday also pitched in for the Peacock.

Fox struggled through the frame, with only repeats of “House” (3.7/9, 10.46m), “Family Guy” (3.9/9, 7.90m) and “The Simpsons” (3.5/8, 7.57m) topping a 7 share in 18-49.

Univision moved up thanks to Monday’s two-hour conclusion to telenovela “Destilando Amor” (Essence of Love) (3.9/9 in 18-49, 8.98m), which tied for 11th place on the week among all primetime programs in 18-49. In adults 18-34, its 4.6/12 beat all programming opposite it Monday on the other broadcast nets.

One of the week’s biggest stories in cable was ABC Family Sunday telepic “Holidays in Handcuffs,” starring Mario Lopez and Melissa Joan Hart, which averaged a hearty 2.4/6 in 18-49 and 6.73 million viewers overall. It became the net’s most-watched telecast to date, standing as the week’s No. 1 entertainment telecast of the week in both total viewers and adults 25-54 (2.4/5).

It was a good week overall for the Disney-owned cablers, as the most-watched nets in primetime included ESPN (No. 1), ABC Family (No. 3) and Disney Channel (No. 4).

Other highlights included MTV’s “The Hills” (2.5/6 in 18-49, 4.03m), which logged a big 6.6/15 in women 18-34, and TNT delivering solid numbers for a special episode of summer crime skein “The Closer” (1.3/3, 6.05m).

The preem of E! series “Snoop Dogg’s Father Hood” (1.1/3, 1.94m) was the top cable show in its Sunday 10:30 p.m. timeslot among adults 18-34 (1.5/6), fitting nicely with lead-in “The Girls Next Door” (1.1/3, 1.98m).

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