CBS tops total viewers with 'NCIS'

Michael Jackson-related programming dotted but didn’t dominate the primetime airwaves Tuesday, with NBC riding “America’s Got Talent” to a victory for the night (for the third consecutive week) among adults 18-49.

CBS topped the evening in total viewers, according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, but also due more to conventional programming than Jackson coverage. Nielsen estimates for the daytime memorial itself were scheduled to arrive at midday today.

“America’s Got Talent” (3.0 rating/9 share in the demo, 10.4 million viewers overall) continued its Tuesday winning streak, though Jackson retrospectives no doubt contributed to its near-20% decline from the previous week.

The Jackson phenomenon sparked a three-way battle at 10 p.m., with ABC’s “Primetime: Family Secrets” (2.6/7, 8.6 million), which focused on Jackson’s children and included a 2003 interview with ex-wife Debbie Rowe, garnering the most attention. The segment generated ABC’s top non-sports summer ratings in the timeslot since May 29, 2007.

NBC’s “Dateline” (2.3/7, 6.3 million) followed “Talent” with a second-place finish at 10 p.m., while CBS’ “48 Hours Mystery” (1.5/4, 5.5 million) rounded out the primetime Jackson programming.

CBS fared better with reruns “NCIS” (1.7/7, 10.8 million — the highest overall viewership for the night) and “The Mentalist” (1.8/5, 9.1 million).

Amid all this, there was one series premiere. NBC’s “Great American Road Trip” (1.3/5, 4.7 million) performed poorly in comparison both to year-ago premiere “Celebrity Family Feud” (2.3/8) as well as an 8 p.m. repeat of “Talent” (2.3/8) last week.

“Trip” still finished in a virtual tie with timeslot rival “The Superstars” (1.3/5, 4.2 million), which ABC scaled down from 90 to 60 minutes.

Fox’s night consisted solely of “Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde” (0.8/2, 2.2 million), a decline from the previous week’s airing of the original “Legally Blonde.”

The CW presented reruns of “90210” (0.4/2, 1.0 million) and “Hitched or Ditched” (0.4/1, 1.1 million).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC 2.2/7, ABC 1.9/6, CBS 1.7/5, Univision 1.3/4, Fox 0.8/2, CW 0.4/1.

In total viewers: CBS 8.5 million, NBC 7.1 million, ABC 6.2 million, Univision 3.4 million, Fox 2.2 million, CW 1.1 million.

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