Show's eighth season a ratings winner

The eighth season of CBS competition series “Big Brother” kicked off a ratings winner in its premiere Thursday night, coming in line with its bow of last summer.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, “Big Brother 8″ (2.7 rating/9 share in adults 18-49, 7.4 million viewers overall) won the 8 o’clock hour in adults 18-49 as well as adults 25-54 (3.2/10) but Fox’s repeat of “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader” (2.5/8 in 18-49, 7.8 million viewers overall) held tough and challenged in the demos while pulling ahead in total viewers. The audience for “Big Brother” has remained pretty steady in recent seasons, suggesting that while it’s not adding many new viewers at this stage of its run, it has a loyal core following.

Show will regularly air three times a week throughout summer, Thursdays and Sundays at 8 p.m. and Tuesdays at 9.

Following “Big Brother” on CBS, a special 9 o’clock episode of first-year reality show “Pirate Master” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 5.2 million viewers overall) placed second to a special second repeat episode of Fox quizzer “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader” (2.8/9 in 18-49, 8.5 million viewers overall); “Pirate” will shift to Tuesdays at 10 beginning next week.

Closing out the night Thursday, a special repeat of “CSI” on CBS (2.6/8 in 18-49, 9.3 million viewers overall) beat the combined scores in the hour of repeat dramas “Men in Trees” on ABC (1.2/4 in 18-49, 3.7 million viewers overall) and “ER” on NBC (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.9 million viewers overall).

NBC was led by a repeat of “The Office” at 9 (1.9/6 in 18-49, 4.2 million viewers overall), ABC by a repeat of “Grey’s Anatomy” at 9 (1.7/5 in 18-49, 5.0 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 2.6/8; CBS, 2.4/8; NBC, 1.4/4; ABC, 1.3/4; CW, 0.8/2.

In total viewers: Fox, 8.2 million; CBS, 7.3 million; ABC, 4.2 million; NBC, 3.5 million; CW, 2.0 million.

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