CBS leads in total viewers on Sunday

Sunday was another night of depressingly low numbers at the broadcast networks, with Fox faring best among young adults with its animated comedy repeats. CBS led in total viewers, although its tribute to Walter Cronkite wasn’t an especially big ratings grabber.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, Fox narrowly won among adults 18-49 on the night thanks to sturdy encore performances from “The Simpsons” (2.0 rating/6 share in adults 18-49, 4.0 million viewers overall for its special 9:30 p.m. episode) and “Family Guy” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 3.9 million viewers overall). Also, the regularly scheduled episode of “The Simpsons” at 8 p.m. (1.7/6 in 18-49, 3.4 million viewers overall) and “King of the Hill” at 8:30 p.m. (1.5/5 in 18-49, 3.0 million viewers overall) put up solid enough scores, helping compensate for weakness in the night’s opening hour with “Til Death” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 1.5 million viewers overall) and “American Dad” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 1.8 million viewers overall).

At CBS, the special “Walter Cronkite: That’s The Way It Was” averaged a 1.0/4 in 18-49 and a slot-leading 7.4 million viewers overall — a bit below what “60 Minutes” had been averaging in the 7 o’clock hour. It was followed by “Big Brother” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall), which led in demos at 8 p.m., and repeats of crime dramas “Cold Case” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 6.3 million viewers overall) and “Without a Trace” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 5.9 million viewers overall).

NBC aired all-original programming on the night but produced nothing-special numbers for its lineup of “Dateline” (0.9/4 in 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall), drama “Merlin” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 4.3 million viewers overall) and movie “Meteor” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 5.2 million viewers overall), with the latter standing as the top-rated broadcast program in demos during the 10 o’clock hour.

ABC slogged through another tough night, getting decent showings from alternative series repeats of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (1.3/5 in 18-49, 5.0 million viewers overall) and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 5.1 million viewers overall) but then tumbling with encores of the serialized dramas “Desperate Housewives” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 2.7 million viewers overall) and “Brothers & Sisters” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 2.1 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 1.4/5; CBS, 1.3/4; NBC, 1.1/4; ABC, 1.0/3; Univision, 0.8/3; CW, 0.4/1.

In total viewers: CBS, 6.3 million; NBC, 4.9 million; ABC, 3.7 million; Fox, 2.9 million; Univision, 1.9 million; CW, 1.2 million.

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