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CBS continues early-season roll

Net sweeps key ratings categories for third straight week

CBS continued its hot start last week, becoming the first net in nine years to open a season with three straight across-the-board ratings victories.

The Eye claimed 12 of primetime’s top 20 entertainment series among adults 18-49 — more than ABC (4), Fox (3) and NBC (1) combined — and continues to have the best story to tell when it comes to first-year series. “Hawaii Five-0,” “Mike and Molly” and “Blue Bloods” have all held up well through three airings, while “Bleep My Dad Says” still looks pretty good on Thursday and “The Defenders” is doing OK on Wednesday.

Contrast this with ABC, NBC and Fox, each of which has canceled one rookie series and must be pondering moves for other struggling new and returning shows.

It especially remains a problem for NBC, which has been unable to capitalize on the huge ratings generated by primetime’s top-rated series, “Sunday Night Football.”

The Peacock’s only top 25 entertainment series was “The Office” at No. 17, and its next highest-rated skein — “Saturday Night Live” (2.7) — aired outside primetime.

Overall for the Oct. 4-10 frame, Nielsen estimates CBS led in adults 18-49 with a 3.0 rating/9 share, well ahead of ABC (2.5/7) and NBC and Fox (both at 2.4/7). Univision ran fifth (1.5/5), with baseball-boosted cabler TBS moving up to sixth (1.4/4).

The Eye also prevailed in adults 25-54 (4.0/11) and total viewers (11.9 million), beating runner-up ABC in both categories by more than 30%. Fox ruled among persons 12-34 (2.1/7), with CBS second (1.8/6).

For CBS, its hit list was once again a good mix of comedies like “Two and a Half Men” (4.5/11, 14.37m), “The Big Bang Theory” (4.1/13, 12.58m) and “Mike and Molly” (3.9/9, 12.21m) along with hourlongs like vets “NCIS” (3.8/11, 19.81m) and “Survivor” (3.8/11, 12.05m) and newcomer “Hawaii Five-0” (3.5/9, 12.24m). “NCIS” drew its largest overall audience since January, racking up the most viewers for any scripted telecast this season.

Another notable achievement for CBS was that for the first time this season it was the top broadcaster in adults 25-54 during the 10:30 half-hour on all five weeknights — a key point for the 11 p.m. newscasts on its affils.

The net’s three-week winning streak in 18-49, 25-54 and total viewers to start the season is the best showing out of the gate since NBC in 2001. The Eye, though, figures to finish behind Fox in 18-49 for the current week, as it’s Fox’s turn to benefit from big weekend sports help (football overrun and the start of baseball’s National League Championship Series).

Elsewhere last week, ABC continues to be powered mostly by top 10 skeins “Grey’s Anatomy” (4.6/13, 12.75m), “Modern Family” (4.6/12, 11.44m), “Desperate Housewives” (3.9/10, 12.38m) and “Dancing With the Stars” (4.3/11, 19.89m).

Among new shows, “No Ordinary Family” (2.7/8, 8.99m) declined 16% from its promising premiere and remains the net’s best performer, while Wednesday comedy “Better With You” is doing OK (2.3/7, 6.87m). Not so hot are the net’s 10 p.m. dramas “Detroit 1-8-7” on Tuesday (1.7/5, 7.83m) and “The Whole Truth” on Wednesday (1.3/4, 4.40m).

Fox was led by Tuesday’s “Glee” (4.6/13, 11.20m), which came back to earth after the previous week’s record-setting Britney Spears episode, and Monday drama vet “House” (4.0/11, 10.78m), which remains down noticeably from last year. The net improved its standing in the hour behind “House” by replacing the now-canceled “Lone Star” with “Lie to Me” (2.1/5, 5.86m).

Among new shows, half-hours “Raising Hope” (2.5/7, 6.18m) and “Running Wilde” (1.7/5, 3.86m) both dropped in the hour behind “Glee” on Tuesday, and “Good Guys” surprisingly remains on the sked Friday despite a ninth-place 18-49 finish in the 9 o’clock hour (0.7/3, 2.26m).

At NBC, “Sunday Night Football” (6.7/18 in 18-49, 16.86m for Philadelphia-San Francisco) was lower than previous weeks but still towered over the top entertainment series for the week. The franchise is the most-watched primetime football package through five weeks of the NFL season (21.8 million viewers) since ABC’s “Monday Night Football” in 1996.

On the entertainment side, Thursday comedy “The Office” is still potent (3.5/10, 6.95m), and rookie “Outsourced” held onto 71% of that demo lead-in to remain the net’s strongest first-year show. Monday’s “The Event” (2.4/6, 7.56m) is doing passably in its tough slot, but lead-out “Chase” (1.7/5, 5.78m) and Wednesday 8 p.m. drama “Undercovers” (1.5/5, 6.38m) are struggling, and NBC effectively canceled “Outlaw” (banishing its final four segs to Saturday) after falling below a 1 demo rating last Friday (0.9/3, 4.10m)

The net isn’t getting any help from its veteran reality franchises “The Biggest Loser” (2.5/7, 6.84m), which is off sharply this fall, and “The Apprentice” (1.3/4, 3.71m), whose first civilian edition in years hasn’t connected with auds.

CW was led by “The Vampire Diaries” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 3.47m) and “America’s Next Top Model” (1.3/4, 2.85m), while the shows airing behind them — “Nikita” (1.1/3, 2.90m) and “Hellcats” (0.9/3, 2.13m), respectively — are doing decently after more than a month on the air.

TBS moved to the cable lead last week thanks to baseball’s opening round of the playoffs. Its top-rated contest was Wednesday’s Game 1 between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins (2.4/8, 6.91m).

Also shining for cable were ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” (5.6/15, 13.97m for New England-Miami), the No. 2 show of the week in 18-49, and MTV’s alternative series “Jersey Shore” (2.7/8, 5.35m) and “Teen Mom” (2.4/7, 4.13m).

ESPN’s college football game between LSU and Florida topped all networks on Saturday (1.9/7 in 18-49, 5.32m).

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