CBS, riding the most consistent sked across the week and getting a weekend boost from football, scored an easy victory in demos last week.
The Eye — with its Monday comedy block and “NCIS” franchise especially clicking — won in adults 18-49 with its best weekly score since April. CBS is also the season leader through three weeks in 18-49, 25-54 and total viewers, according to Nielsen.
NBC moved into a tie with Fox for second last week, while ABC was close behind in fourth and showed the biggest year-to-year declines.
The first full frame of October was a big one for cable sports, led by the “Monday Night Football” game on ESPN between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers, which drew a record cable aud of 21.84 million viewers and was the week’s No. 1 program (with a huge 9.1/23 in 18-49).
Also, TBS had its best-ever frame, courtesy of postseason baseball every night, including three games featuring the prominent New York Yankees.
Overall for the week of Oct. 5-11, CBS led in adults 18-49 with a 3.3 rating/9 share, followed by NBC and Fox (both 2.6/7), ABC (2.5/7), TBS (1.9/6), ESPN (1.6/5), Univision (1.4/4) and CW (1.0/3).
The Eye won by larger margins in adults 25-54 (4.2/11 to 3.0/8 for both ABC and NBC) and total viewers (12.2 million to 8.4 million for ABC), while Fox led among persons 12-34 (2.3/8 to 2.0/7 for runner-up CBS.)
CBS got a big lift from football, starting Saturday with its special Florida-LSU matchup (3.6/12 in 18-49, 10.50m), which roughly matched the combined primetime demo delivery on the night of ABC, NBC and Fox.
The Eye also benefited from a 43-minute NFL overrun on Sunday (9.0/28 in 18-49, 25.84 million viewers overall) for the conclusion of the Denver-New England contest.
On the entertainment side, CBS was paced by Monday comedies “Two and a Half Men” (4.4/10 in 18-49, 13.30m) and “The Big Bang Theory” (4.7/11, 12.52m). It also had the top show on Tuesday with “NCIS” (4.3/12, 20.70m), Wednesday with “Criminal Minds” (3.6/9, 14.05m) and Friday with “Ghost Whisperer” (2.2/8, 8.78m).
Not looking so hot is Sunday rookie “Three Rivers” (1.7/4 in 18-49, 7.33m), which fell off from its modest bow of the previous week.
Fox continued its good start to the season, led by Monday’s “House” (5.4/13 in 18-49, 13.74m) and Sunday laffers “Family Guy” (4.6/11, 8.97m) and “The Cleveland Show” (3.9/10, 7.87m). Also contributing were solid numbers for “Lie to Me” (3.1/7, 8.06m), “Hell’s Kitchen” (3.3/9, 7.43m), “Glee” (3.3/9, 7.28m) and “Bones” (2.9/8, 10.29m).
NBC stayed within a tick of its average in the same week a year ago thanks to “Sunday Night Football” (6.2/16 in 18-49, 16.02m), the No. 2 show of the week in 18-49, and an hourlong episode of Thursday laffer “The Office” (4.8/12, 9.42m), which logged the show’s best scores in a year.
“The Biggest Loser” also continues to perform well on Tuesday (3.7/10 in 18-49, 9.25m), up vs. last year and winning its second hour in 18-49 for the first time this fall.
Among new shows, “Community” didn’t do much leading off Thursday (1.9/6, 4.87m), but it fared a bit better than fellow rookies “Mercy” (1.8/5, 7.43m) and “Trauma” (1.7/4, 5.36m).
“The Jay Leno Show” averaged a 1.7/5 in 18-49 and 5.31 million viewers overall, on par with the previous week. Although it delivered its lowest 25-54 average at 10:30 p.m. (the half-hour leading into affils’ late local newcasts), it tied with firstrun rookie ABC dramas on both Tuesday and Wednesday.
ABC was repped in the top 10 by vets “Grey’s Anatomy” (5.4/14 in 18-49, 14.13m) and “Desperate Housewives” (4.6/11, 13.42m) and again led the Thursday 10 p.m. slot in demos with “Private Practice” (3.6/10, 9.50m).
New shows “Modern Family” (3.4/9, 8.82m), “Cougar Town” (3.2/8, 7.84m) and “FlashForward” (3.0/9, 9.00m) all were on the decline, but have performed well enough to garner full-season orders from the net.
Rookies on the hot seat are dramas “The Forgotten” on Tuesday (1.9/5 in 18-49, 7.55m) and “Eastwick” on Wednesday (1.8/5, 5.14m).
CW was led by Thursday rookie hit “The Vampire Diaries” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 3.52m), which won its hour in femmes 12-34 (2.8/9) and continues to provide the net with time period improvement vs. last year. Also noteworthy was improved numbers for the Tuesday tandem of “90210” (1.2/3, 2.09m) and “Melrose Place” (0.9/2, 1.60m).
In cable, TBS logged its best-ever primetime averages (5.41 million viewers overall, 2.46 million adults 18-49) as four baseball games topped 6 million viewers. The net’s 13 postseason games averaged 4.77 million viewers, up 11% from last year’s 4.28 million.
Highest-rated of the week was Sunday’s third and final game of the first-round series between the Yankees and Minnesota Twins (2.1/6 in 18-49, 6.79m).
Entertainment series highlights included FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 3.66m) and reality skeins “Project Runway” on Lifetime (1.5/4, 3.22m) and “Top Chef” on Bravo (1.5/4, 2.76m). Also, Lifetime’s “Army Wives” wrapped its season with solid scores (1.3/3, 3.93m).
Syfy moved up to fourth among cablers in 25-54, getting a boost from original pic “Megafault” and series “Sanctuary” and “Stargate Universe.”