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CBS lassoes Tuesday victory

Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

CBS cruised to its highest-rated Tuesday in three years on the strength of the 38th annual Country Music Assn. Awards, while Fox bombed with a new reality skein for the second time in three nights as “The Rebel Billionaire” opened weakly, according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen.

The three-hour CMA kudocast led the night for CBS in most key categories including adults 18-49 (5.9/15) and total viewers (18.4 million), down slightly from last year’s numbers when it aired on a Wednesday. These are the best scores on a Tuesday for CBS since the Michael Jackson concert special in November 2001.

Auds largely ignored Fox’s two-hour premiere of “Branson’s Best: The Rebel Millionaire” (2.3/6 in adults 18-49, 5.1 million viewers overall), which left the net in fifth place on the night – behind the WB.

NBC again did pretty well with a 90-minute episode of reality skein “The Biggest Loser” (4.1/10 in adults 18-49, 10.0 million viewers overall), which grew nicely with each half-hour and peaked with a 5.0/12 in 18-49 in the 9 o’clock half-hour. “Scrubs” followed with its best results since September (3.9/9 in adults 18-49, 8.9 million viewers overall), and “Law & Order: SVU” was a strong second in the 10 o’clock hour (5.3/14 in adults 18-49, 14.3 million viewers overall).

ABC received season-high scores for “NYPD Blue” at 10 (3.7/9 in adults 18-49, 10.7 million viewers overall) although it ran a distant third in its hour. “According to Jim” was the net’s top comedy of the night, placing third at 9 (4.0/10 in adults 18-49, 9.6 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 5.9/15; NBC, 4.4/11; ABC, 3.6/9; WB, 2.4/6; Fox, 2.3/6; UPN, 1.3/3.

In total viewers: CBS, 18.4 million; NBC, 11.2 million; ABC, 9.5 million; WB, 5.5 million; Fox, 5.1 million; UPN, 2.9 million.

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