CBS ties with Fox football for night's demo lead

CBS’ ”Big Brother” continues to pick up a little steam post-Olympics, with Thursday’s edition racking up best-since-premiere scores and standing as the night’s top program. It was slow going, meanwhile, for CW’s premiere of singing competition ”The Next.”

According to preliminary national averages from Nielsen, ”Big Brother” averaged a 2.3 rating/7 share in adults 18-49 and 6.3 million viewers overall in the 9 o’clock hour, up nicely from last week’s 1.8 in the demo opposite the Olympics on NBC; it was the night’s No. 1 show in 18-49, 25-54 (2.9/7) and total viewers. Also for CBS, encores of ”The Big Bang Theory” (2.1/8 in 18-49, 8.1 million viewers overall) and ”Two and a Half Men” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 6.8 million viewers overall) led in the night’s opening hour, and the net closed things out with a special 10 p.m. airing of 9 p.m. Thursday drama ”Person of Interest” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 5.0 million viewers overall). Note that due to preemptions on the local stations in Columbus and Dayton for Cleveland Browns preseason football (about 1.1% of the nation’s TV homes), the Eye’s program averages could come down a tad in the nationals.

Preliminary numbers for Fox are subject to revision due to live sports action, but the NFL preseason contest between the Cincinnati Bengals and Atlanta Falcons averaged a 1.8/6 in 18-49 and 5.2 million viewers overall on the net’s stations from 8 to 11. This left it tied with CBS for the night’s lead in 18-49, meaning that Fox has held at least a share of the demo lead all four nights this week (and it will make it five tonight with another NFL game).

ABC opened with ”Wipeout” (1.6/6 in 18-49, 5.5 million viewers overall), which was up from its performance in the 9 o’clock hour opposite the Olympics last week. It was slow going in the 9 o’clock hour, though, for the special ”Time Machine Chefs” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 3.5 million viewers overall), before the net bounced back up at 10 p.m. with drama ”Rookie Blue” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 5.0 million viewers overall), which was down vs. its most recent original episode of three weeks ago.

NBC’s preliminary estimates figure to be revised down a bit due to preemptions for preseason NFL football on the local stations in Cleveland and Milwaukee (about 2.1% of the nation’s TV homes). But in the early numbers, original hours ”Saving Hope” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 4.2 million viewers overall) and ”Rock Center with Brian Williams” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 5.2 million viewers overall) were up nicely vs. their last airings pre-Olympics. The net opened with encores of ”The Office” (1.0/4 in 18-49, 3.4 million viewers overall) and ”Parks and Recreation” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.9 million viewers overall).

At CW, ”The Next” averaged a 0.3/1 in 18-49 and about 900,000 viewers overall in the 9 o’clock hour — ranking seventh among the broadcasters in both 18-49 and 18-34 (0.3/1) but holding steady or gaining slightly on the half-hour in all categories. While this is on the high end of the net’s summer ratings range, it had to be hoping for a better start for a show that will continue into the early fall. Also for CW, a special episode of new series ”Oh Sit” at 8 p.m. averaged similar numbers (0.3/1 in 18-49, about 850,000 viewers overall), on par with the demo score for its premiere Wednesday.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS and Fox, 1.8/6; ABC, 1.4/4; Univision, 1.3/4; NBC, 1.0/3; CW, 0.3/1.

In total viewers: CBS, 6.2 million; Fox, 5.2 million; ABC, 4.6 million; NBC, 4.2 million; Univision, 3.4 million; CW, 0.9 million.

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