Longtime CBS reality skein shifts to Wednesday

Even in its 21st cycle, “Survivor” proved in its season preem Wednesday that it can outrun the competish wherever it goes.

NBC’s “Outlaw,” a legal drama starring Jimmy Smits, got off to a good start with an assist from the finale of the Peacock’s summer hit “America’s Got Talent.”

“Survivor” aired in the 8 p.m. Thursday timeslot since its second year on CBS, but it remained on top in its shift to 8 p.m. Wednesday as the highest-rated show of the night in adults 18-49 with a 4.0 rating/13 share in the demo (up 11% from last fall) and 12.2 million viewers. CBS slated “Survivor” this fall as a lead-in to “Criminal Minds,” and the Eye has handed the 8 o’clock hour on Thursday to comedies “The Big Bang Theory” and “$#*! My Dad Says.”

Reality ruled Wednesday as NBC had the most-watched show of the evening with the finale of “America’s Got Talent” as 16.4 million tuned in. For the last half hour, 19.2 million watched Michael Grimm named season-five champ.

At 10 o’clock, Peacock’s preview of “Outlaw,” which settles into its regular Friday 10 p.m. slot tonight, drew 10.6 million and a 2.3 rating. In total viewers, it’s a substantial drop from the last 30 minutes of “Talent,” but NBC officials understood going in that much of the aud — especially those who are loyal “Talent” watchers and normally tune in more to reality than scripted fare — might not stick around. With the additional telecast tonight, the cumulative totals for “Outlaw” should provide a substantial sampling of the series.

Following “Survivor,” the two-hour “Big Brother” finale drew 7.8 million and a 2.9/8 in 18-49, tying for the best demos of the season and up 4% from last season’s finale.

At Fox, “Masterchef” (2.0/6, 4.8m) closed its season down 20% from a week ago but was up against more-veteran reality competition than it had ever faced in the past.

CW has found some life in the ninth cycle of “America’s Next Top Model” (1.3/4, 2.8m). Skein held up well, improving 7% from the premiere in women 18-34 and 4% in total viewers.

ABC offered a night of reruns as it’s readying to launch a slate of shows beginning next week, when the broadcasters will face intense competition against one another as fall officially bows.

In latenight ratings for the week of Sept. 7-10 (Labor Day excluded), “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” led in both total viewers (4.2 million) and in the 18-49 demo. It was the highest viewer total for “The Tonight Show” since the week of April 5.

ABC’s “Nightline” was second in both categories, followed by “Late Show With David Letterman.” “Late Show,” however, aired an encore Sept. 10.

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