CBS tops Monday with a 'Bang'

With the power of its rock-solid sitcom lineup, CBS took a competitive Monday when many series were offering season finales, and a few series closers as well.

Jack Bauer went out with a wimper rather than a bang as the conclusion of Fox drama “24″ drew only a 2.7 rating/8 share in the 18-49 demo, as 8.8 million viewers watched the two-hour finale. Episode marks the end of an eight-season run.

As for other farewells, NBC’s stalwart “Law & Order” (1.9/5, 7.6m) was 12% up from a week ago as longtime fans tuned in to say goodbye. There is the possibility that the Sam Waterson-starrer might return on another network, but for the time being, this was the last original episode after 20 seasons.

CBS ran season finales of its laffer slate, with “The Big Bang Theory” (5.2/13, 14.7m) faring best. “Two and a Half Men” (5.0/13, 15.3m) ran a close second. After some last-minute negotiations, “Men” star Charlie Sheen will return next season while “Big Bang” moves to 8 p.m. Thursday as the Eye looks to open a new night of comedy.

“How I Met Your Mother” (3.5/11, 8.1m) and “Rules of Engagement” (3.3/9, 8.2m) rounded out the comedies, while “CSI: Miami” ended its season up 14% from a week ago with a 3.3/9, 12.3m. “Miami” is also packing its bag, moving to Sundays in the fall.

The season premiere of the sixth installment of ABC’s “The Bachelorette” drew a 2.8/8, with 9.1 million viewers tuning in. That’s down 7% from last May’s premiere and the lowest opener of any “Bachelorette.” Alphabet opened the night with the final competition episode of “Dancing With the Stars” (4.0/12), which was Monday’s most-watched program.

Prior to the last “Law & Order,” NBC offered the two-hour season finale of “Chuck” (1.8/5, 4.9m), down 25% from last season’s finale. Despite being on the ratings bubble, the Peacock is bringing the dramedy back for another season.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 3.9/11; ABC, 3.2/9; Fox,2.7/8; NBC, 1.8/5; Univision, 1.7/5; CW, 0.3/1.

In total viewers: ABC, 12.4 million; CBS, 11.8 million; Fox, 8.8 million; NBC, 5.9 million; Univision, 4.1 million; CW, 734,000

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