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CBS keeping it real

'Big Brother,' 'Rock Star' help Eye stay on top

Last week other nets rolled out the red carpet, new fall series and even Jack Sparrow, but CBS finished on top, thanks to the best perfs yet from its reality tandem of “Big Brother” and “Rock Star.”

The Aug. 21-27 frame was very competitive among the major nets, but the Eye prevailed narrowly in key demos. According to Nielsen, CBS earned a 2.3 rating/7 share in adults 18-49, followed by ABC and NBC (both at 2.2/7) and Fox (2.1/7).

The Eye edged out NBC for the adults 25-54 crown (2.8/8 to 2.7/7) and also held off the Peacock in overall audience (7.3 million to 6.8 million), keeping the net a perfect 13-for-13 this summer in the latter.

Sesh included solid but unspectacular season launches for Fox dramas “Prison Break” and the new “Vanished” (Daily Variety, Aug. 23) but also better-than-expected marks for the Primetime Emmys on NBC. And ABC remained in the hunt by counter-programming the Emmys with the 2003 pic “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.”

For CBS, “Big Brother: All-Stars” racked up season highs on Tuesday (3.2/8 in 18-49, 8 million viewers overall) and Sunday (3.0/8, 8.16m) and also led its Thursday slot as usual (2.9/10, 8.27m). All three editions ranked among the week’s top 10.

Not to be outdone, “Rock Star: Supernova” had its strongest Wednesday showing to date (2.8/9, 6.32m) as it, too, winds down to the end of its season.

On the scripted side, “CSI” (3.4/10 in 18-49, 11.58m) was higher than usual on Thursday with a repeat and was the week’s No. 1 series in 25-54 (4.4/11).

NBC was paced by Sunday’s “58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards” (5.2/13 in 18-49, 16.18m), which aired three weeks earlier than usual (Daily Variety, Aug. 29). Although it was up vs. the previous year in key male demos, overall it came in as the second-lowest rated Emmycast in the past 15 years. (The Emmys drew fewer overall viewers than Sunday’s numbers on three occasions between 1987 and 1990 when they aired on the then-young Fox.)

Peacock’s “Treasure Hunters” was pretty much a bust this summer, but its finale on Monday spiked a bit (2.4/6 in 18-49, 6.02m).

Fox launched its second season of “Prison Break” to solid enough scores for an August preem (3.7/12, 9.37m) while lead-out newbie “Vanished” did just OK in its bow (3.0/8, 8.65m). Both shows were on the rise slightly in key demos with their second airings (see below).

Net also was repped in the week’s top 10 by a “House” repeat (3.1/10 in 18-49, 8.00m) in the skein’s new 8 o’clock slot.

For the second straight week, ABC had its strongest sesh since June — this time thanks to Sunday’s rebroadcast of “Pirates of the Caribbean” (3.7/10 in 18-49, 9.99m), which nabbed the best demo score for any theatrical on any net in 18 months.

Alphabet’s “Grey’s Anatomy” is picking up steam in its new Thursday-at-9 slot (2.9/8 in 18-49, 7.85m) — although its repeat airing still trailed “CSI” in nearly all categories.

TNT, USA and ESPN were all tightly situated atop the basic-cable rankings for the week in key demos and total viewers, thanks in part to sports programming. Week’s top 18-49 draws in cable were ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” pre-season game between the Cowboys and Saints (2.5/7), TNT’s Nextel Cup auto race (2.1/7) and USA’s “WWE Raw” wrestling (2.0/6).

One of the standouts on cable was Disney Channel’s Friday telepic “Cheetah Girls 2” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 7.82m), which drew huge numbers among girls and was Friday’s most-watched program on either broadcast or cable. Also of note on a smaller scale, Bravo docudrama “Work Out” ended its first season with a series-best 985,000 viewers, with roughly two-thirds of them coming in the adults 18-49 demo.

HBO failed to see much of a spark Sunday for the initial airings of the season finales for “Entourage” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 2.54m) or “Deadwood” (0.9/2, 2.03m), nor did USA’s season-enders catch fire for “The 4400” (1.2/3, 2.95m) or “The Dead Zone” (0.9/2, 2.21m) — all airing opposite the Emmys.

* * *

On Monday of the current week, Fox’s “Prison Break” (4.0/11 in 18-49, 9.44m) was up 8% in 18-49 from its premiere, and “Vanished” (3.1/8, 8.51m) grew by 3%. “Vanished” grew its adults 18-34 rating from its preem (2.8 vs. 2.6), although it did drop 1 share point in its second half-hour.

Both Fox shows won their time periods in 18-49.

TNT’s “The Closer” doesn’t seem to be affected by the 9 o’clock crime drama competish from Fox, matching its best score of the season (1.8/5 in 18-49, 6.50m).

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