CBS rolled to victory on Wednesday, riding season highs for its comedies and winning perfs from its crime dramas. Of course, the Eye’s success was made easier by the meager numbers put up by ABC and NBC.
The Alphabet’s all-sophomore trio of dramas hit lows, and NBC’s revamped drama lineup — including rookie “Knight Rider” — continues to struggle. CW fared well, though, with vet reality skein “America’s Next Top Model,” which hit a one-year high with its season finale.
The Eye’s victory on Wednesday capped the third week of the November sweep, which finds ABC and CBS tied for the lead among 18-49ers, according to Nielsen. Each of the broadcast nets is down, with Fox and ABC showing the biggest declines.
The Eye and Alphabet figure to battle to the finish line for the 18-49 crown, with ABC still having the inside track thanks to Saturday’s college football game (Oklahoma-Texas Tech) and Tuesday’s two-hour “Dancing With the Stars” finale.
Looking at Wednesday, CBS kicked things off with second-place scores from laffers “The New Adventures of Old Christine” (2.5 rating/7 share in adults 18-49, 7.85 million viewers overall) and “Gary Unmarried” (2.7/7, 7.88m). “Christine” matched its season high in 18-49, while rookie “Gary” established its new best.
That led in to “Criminal Minds” (4.2/11 in 18-49, 16.33m), which posted its best demo average in six weeks and stood as the night’s top-rated program with an episode guest- starring Jason Alexander. The 100th episode of “CSI: NY” kept the Eye network on top at 10 o’clock with the show’s highest numbers in four weeks (3.8/10, 14.12m).
Fox ran second on the night thanks to “Bones” (3.2/9 in 18-49, 10.82m), which led the 8 o’clock hour in most categories. The net then finished third at 9 with a repeat of “House” (2.1/5, 5.68m).
At ABC, “Pushing Daisies” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 4.87m), “Private Practice” (2.4/6, 7.23m) and “Dirty Sexy Money” (1.7/5, 5.58m) all hit lows one week after being preempted for the much stronger CMA Awards.
NBC fared even worse with its lackluster lineup of “Knight Rider” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 5.21m), “Life” (1.7/4, 5.43m) and “Law & Order” (2.2/6, 7.62m).
Finale of CW’s “America’s Next Top Model” (2.3/7 in 18-49, 4.84m) logged the show’s best scores in about a year and finished as the No. 1 program of the night among adults 18-34 (2.8/9). At 9, “Stylista” (1.0/3, 2.16m) posted best-since-premiere averages.
Through Wednesday, the “most current” November sweep Nielsen averages showed CBS and ABC tied at a 3.1/8, with the former down 9% vs. last year and the latter off 19%; they were followed by NBC (2.9/8, down 9%), Fox (2.6/7, down 19%) and CW (1.0/3, down 9%).
CBS was leading in adults 25-54 (4.1/10) and total viewers (11.75 million) and should win in both. NBC held a slight lead on Fox in adults 18-34 (2.6/8 to 2.5/7).
Of note in cable Wednesday was FX’s “Sons of Anarchy,” which hit a season high in 18-49 (1.3/4, 2.46m) with its penultimate episode. Also hot in the 10 o’clock hour were Bravo’s “Top Chef” (1.4/4, 2.57m) and Comedy Central’s season finale of “South Park” (1.7/5, 3.29m).