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‘Big Brother’ Matches Season High on Night of Preemptions

Despite preemptions or delays due to preseason football, CBS’ “Big Brother” matched its season high on Thursday, an atypical night saw lower ratings for the other firstrun shows on the Big Four.

The major networks all had lower national clearances as a result of the NFL exhibition games, with “Big Brother” seen in 96% of the country (including delays that pushed it past 11 p.m. in some markets), NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” in 95%, and the ABC’s “Rookie Blue” in just 91%.

NBC and ABC also preempted their lineups for about 12 minutes at around 9:30 p.m. ET as President Obama told the nation that the U.S. has authorized limited airstrikes in Iraq.

Looking at the “live plus same-day” national estimates released Friday afternoon by Nielsen, CBS followed repeats of “The Big Bang Theory” (2.1 rating/8 share in adults 18-49, 8.32 million viewers overall) and “Mom” (1.8/7 in 18-49, 6.75 million viewers overall) with “Big Brother” (2.3/8 in 18-49, 6.54 million viewers overall) — the night’s top show in 18-49.

Auds tuned in for the special double-eviction night on “Big Brother,” enabling it to rise a tenth from last week to match its highest demo rating on any night this season. A higher-rated-than-usual “Elementary” repeat capped the night for CBS (1.2/4 in 18-49, 4.89 million viewers overall).

At ABC, reality show “The Quest” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 2.19 million viewers overall) was seen in 93% of the country, coming in down a tenth from its quiet bow of last week. “Rookie Blue” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 4.59 million viewers overall), with preemptions in nearly 10% of the country, matched its season low but the episode probably won’t count in its averages. And “NY Med” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 4.99 million viewers overall), seen in 92% of the country, was down a tenth from last week; the medical docudrama was the 10 o’clock hour’s most-watched program overall.

NBC opened with a repeat “Hollywood Game Night” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 3.52 million viewers overall), which again beat ABC’s firstrun “Quest.” It was followed by firstrun comedies “Welcome to Sweden” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 2.19 million viewers overall) and “Working the Engels” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 1.87 million viewers overall), which were both down a tick to their lows. At 10 p.m., “Last Comic Standing” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.40 million viewers overall) declined by a tenth but remained ahead of its broadcast competition in 18-49.

Fox aired a repeat “Sleepy Hollow” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 1.59 million viewers overall), followed by an original “Gang Related” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 2.01 million viewers overall). With preemptions that limited its clearance to 96%, “Gang” was down a tenth to its low.

National 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 1.8/6; NBC, 0.8/3; ABC, 0.7/3; Fox, 0.5/2; CW, 0.3/1.

In total viewers: CBS, 6.26 million; ABC, 3.85 million; NBC, 3.07 million; Fox, 1.80 million; CW, 0.61 million.

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