“Survivor” and Tiger Woods have vaulted CBS to the top of the weekly ratings charts, including just the Eye’s second victory in adults 18-49 in 2-1/2 years.
With America’s No. 1 program nearing the end of its run with best-yet numbers and Woods’ dramatic playoff golf victory producing boffo ratings that stretched 45 minutes into primetime Sunday, CBS recorded narrow victories for the week of Aug. 14-20 over ABC in total viewers (9.0 million to 8.9) and NBC in the key 18-49 demo (3.2/10 to 3.1/10).
For CBS, it’s the second victory of the summer in adults 18-49 after not winning in the demo since the Winter Olympics in February 1998. Prior to that, in fact, the net hadn’t won a week in adults 18-49 without sports help since March 1994.
The Eye is virtually guaranteed of making it two weeks in a row, thanks to tonight’s much-anticipated two-hour “Survivor” finale and one-hour reunion special.
According to Nielsen, the penultimate episode of this summer’s smash hit drew 28.67 million viewers and topped the week in every key demo category, including adults 18-49 (12.7/38), adults 25-54 (13.4/37) and adults 18-34 (12.9/42).
ABC, which aired more coverage of the Democratic convention than either CBS or NBC, slipped to third for the week in adults 18-49 (2.9/9, tied with Fox).
The net’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” celebrated its one-year anniversary last week by placing three shows among the week’s five most-watched programs. ABC has placed first in total viewers in 34 of the 40 weeks that the quizzer has aired since its debut Aug. 16, 1999.
NBC finished second for the week in adults 18-49 (3.1/10) and third in total viewers, while Fox matched its best 18-49 rating of the summer (2.9/9) thanks to strong season preems for its Saturday reality series.
UPN also matched its best 18-49 rating of the summer (1.5/5) behind Thursday’s “WWF Smackdown” (3.2/10). In total viewers, the netlet delivered its largest weekly audience in 10 weeks (3.57 million).
Broadcast nets’ adults 18-49 averages for the week of Aug. 14-20: CBS, a 3.2 rating/10 share; NBC, 3.1/10; ABC, 2.9/9, tied with Fox, 2.9/9; UPN, 1.5/5; the WB, 1.0/3; Pax, 0.4/1.
In homes: CBS, 6.3/11; ABC, 6.1/11; NBC, 5.6/10; Fox, 4.2/8; UPN, 2.2/4; the WB, 1.6/3; Pax, 1.1/2.
A later start time (8 p.m. ET) for the Aug. 21 Green Bay-Miami contest helped ABC’s “Monday Night Football” score its best preseason rating in three tries (7.7/13 in homes). Its 4.2/13 in adults 18-49 helped the net win the night by 3 shares over CBS and NBC.
“Mysterious Ways” drew its best adults 18-49 rating (3.4/11) since its NBC premiere five weeks earlier. The series began its Pax run Tuesday.
A 45-minute overrun of golf’s PGA Championship averaged a 15.0/30 in homes, second for the week only to “Survivor’s” 17.9/32. Viewership peeked at 16.0/32 from 7 to 7:30 p.m. ET, a rating 25% higher than the combined delivery of NBC, ABC, FOX and WB in the same time period.
Tiger Woods’ third major victory of the year was also a demo winner, taking its primetime half-hour by 7 shares in adults 18-49.
NBC won the night in the key demo (3.2) despite placing third in total viewers (9.47 million), behind CBS (12.81) and ABC (12.59). The Peacock got strong demo marks from the U.S. Women’s Gymnastic Trials from 8-10 p.m., peaking with a 6.6/18 at 9:30.
Fox won the night in adults 18-49 (3.1/12), led by strong season premieres for “Cops” (6.58 million, 3.0/12) and “America’s Most Wanted” (7.63 million, 3.1/11). Each show was up 11% in adults 18-49 vs. its season premiere a year ago.
NBC’s Olympic Gymnastic Trials averaged 8.27 million viewers from 8-10 p.m., the net’s largest Saturday gathering in the slot this summer.
Fox won the night outright in adults 18-49 (2.7/10) for the first time since April 21, led by “Beyond Belief” 2.9/11). NBC won in both viewers (7.43 million) and adults 25-54 (2.9/11).
CBS’ “Big Brother” dipped to its lowest Friday numbers yet (6.31 million, 2.3/9 in A18-49), placing second to Fox’s “Beyond Belief” (6.79, 2.8/11).
Low clearances due to football preemptions sacked ABC to its weakest Friday of the summer (6.08 million, 2.2/8). An original “Making the Band” slipped to third in its 9:30 timeslot in adults 18-49 (2.3/8).
With “Millionaire” as its lead-in, ABC’s coverage of the final night of the Dems’ convention (with Al Gore in the spotlight) drew the most viewers (7.65 million), topping NBC (6.64) and CBS (4.24) as well as all-news cablers CNN (1.78), MSNBC (770,000) and Fox News (680,000). All told, the six outlets combined to attract 21.76 million viewers on the DNC’s final night — up 3% from what the Republicans drew with Dick Cheney’s address two weeks earlier (21.20 million).
“WWF Smackdown!” helped UPN capture the night in adults 18-34 (3.9/13), repeating a feat that it accomplished for the first time in its history two weeks earlier during the Republican convention. The wrestling series drew its largest crowd (7.70 million) since June 8.
The WB’s “Charmed” cast a spell over its largest aud of the summer (3.43 million) and also matched its best 18-49 rating of the postseason (1.5/4).
The Eye’s “Big Brother” followed “Survivor” with winning scores in all key breakdowns, including total viewers (17.09 million), adults 25-54 (8.0/20) and adults 18-34 (8.0/24). Its retention of “Survivor’s” adults 18-49 lead-in, though, was a lowest-yet 61% (7.7/21 vs. 12.7/38).
The biggest dropoff for “Big Brother” is coming among male teens, where last week it scored a 3.6/12, down 18 shares from its “Survivor” lead-in (8.0/30). It’s a different story with female teens, which gave “Big Brother” a 6.4/23, a modest drop from “Survivor’s” 6.7/27.
ABC, CBS and NBC each devoted the 10 p.m. hour to the Dems, with the Peacock drawing the most viewers (5.36 million) — perhaps thanks to its compatible “West Wing” lead-in.
NBC rallied to catch ABC for the night in adults 18-49 by ditching convention coverage for an hour of traditional “Dateline” fare. The newsmag’s 4.9/14 in the demo crushed the convention coverage on ABC (1.7/5) and CBS (1.2/4).
“Millionaire” was the night’s top program in both viewers (20.30 million) and adults 18-49 (5.3/18).
ABC won Aug. 14 in both viewers and adults 18-49 despite the lowest-rated “Monday Night Football” preseason game ever (6.6/12).