While its rivals were scaling back on first-run fare, CBS stayed in originals with most of its key series last week — including the finale of “Survivor: China” — and delivered its second straight ratings victory in key demos.
In addition to four hours of “Survivor” coverage, the Eye also scored with winning perfs from all three editions of “CSI” as well as original episodes of “Without a Trace” and its popular Friday drama lineup.
Overall for the Dec. 10-16 frame, CBS prevailed in the key adults 18-49 demo with a 3.2 rating/9 share, followed by NBC and Fox (both at 2.8/8). ABC had by far its slowest week of the season to finish a distant fourth (2.0/6), followed by Univision (1.3/4), and CW and USA (both 1.1/3).
The Eye also was an easy leader in both adults 25-54 (4.0/10) and total viewers (11.08 million), while Fox finished on top in viewers 12-34 (2.3/7).
Key for CBS was the 15th season-ender of “Survivor.” The granddaddy of the current reality wave, “Survivor” was one of the rare shows to win its time period every week this fall in both demos and total viewers.
After prevailing Thursday in its regular slot (4.6/13 in 18-49, 14.49m), its two-hour finale won its Sunday time period (5.2/12, 15.18m), and the reunion show also did well (4.5/11, 12.26m). The Sunday scores were down some from last year’s fall finale but were up a bit vs. the most recent spring finale in May.
Thursday’s “CSI” was primetime’s No. 1 program for the week in both 18-49 (6.1/16) and total viewers (19.87 million), and the net also claimed the highest-rated program Monday with “CSI: Miami” (3.9/10, 14.11m), Wednesday with “CSI: NY” (4.1/11, 14.36m) and Friday with “Ghost Whisperer” (2.6/9, 9.80m).
Overall, CBS claimed five of the top 10 programs among adults 18-49 and eight of the top 10 in total viewers.
NBC was paced by “Sunday Night Football” matchup between the Washington Redskins and New York Giants (5.3/13, 15.18m), which though low for the package this fall, stood as the week’s No. 3 program in 18-49.
The Peacock also got good mileage out of some extended episodes of “Deal or No Deal,” which won its timeslot with two-hour segs on Monday (3.3/8 in 18-49, 12.62m) and Wednesday (3.6/10, 13.18m), while Tuesday’s “Biggest Loser” hit season highs with the season’s penultimate seg (3.6/9, 9.83m).
Fox’s fireworks mostly came on Sunday, where an NFL overrun and postgame show dominated the opening hour and led into a good outing for “The Simpsons” (4.8/12, 10.07m).
On the reality front, net continues to do pretty well Wednesday with “Kitchen Nightmares” (2.8/7, 6.10m) but struggles on Fridays with “Next Great American Band” (1.1/3, 2.98m).
ABC’s forgettable frame was paced by Sunday’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (4.2/10 in 18-49, 11.85m) and Tuesday’s encore of new holiday spec “Shrek the Halls” (3.3/10, 9.80m). Net again saw weak scores for Friday’s “Men in Trees” (0.9/3, 4.08m), a show that will move to Wednesdays as part of the net’s revamped midseason sked.
CW did well with the fall finale of “America’s Next Top Model” on Wednesday (2.6/7 in 18-49, 5.50m), but just OK with the preem of reality contest “Crowned” behind it (1.1/3, 2.46m). Netlet is hoping that multiple weekly airings will help auds find the first few episodes of the mother-daughter beauty pageant skein over the holidays.
MyNetwork averaged a best-yet 1.57 million viewers for the frame, getting a boost from holiday classics “White Christmas” (2.26 million) and “Miracle on 34th Street” (1.45m) as well as Friday spec “World Magic Awards” (1.78m).
In cable, USA moved to the lead as ESPN fell back with a low-rated “Monday Night Football” contest (3.2/9 in 18-49, 8.45m for New Orleans-Atlanta).
USA was paced by a special three-hour airing of “WWE Raw” on Monday (2.2/6 in 18-49, 5.76m), as the net beat Fox on the night. It also got a boost from another solid perf by firstrun Thursday drama “Law & Order: CI” (1.5/4, 4.34m).
Elsewhere, ABC Family was No. 2 in total viewers thanks to original holiday pic “Snowglobe” (4.38 million) and repeats of faves “The Incredibles” (4.30m) and “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (3.73m).
Also above average thanks to holiday specs were top-10 cablers Lifetime and Hallmark. Hallmark averaged 2.99 million viewers Saturday with original movie “Love’s Unfolding Dream,” while Lifetime’s top performer was “A Diva’s Christmas Carol,” starring Vanessa Williams (2.74 million).
And BET set a record Tuesday night with the finale of “Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is,” which drew more adults 18-49 (1.9 million) than any series telecast in the net’s history.