×

CBS has biggest week of fall

Net closes in on NBC for season lead in 18-49

CBS is ending fall with a pretty big bang.

While NBC remains the lone growth generator among the Big Four nets this fall, the ascending Eye has trimmed its year-to-year losses by winning in key demos for the third time in the last five weeks. And as the most balanced of the broadcasters, CBS is poised to overtake surprise season leader NBC in the adults 18-49 demo soon after the Peacock’s hugely popular “Sunday Night Football” wraps its run.

The Eye dominated the program rankings last week, claiming 13 of the top 16 non-sports series in adults 18-49 — including No. 1 comedy “The Big Bang Theory” (5.4 rating/17 share in adults 18-49, 16.74 million viewers overall) and No. 1 drama “Criminal Minds” (3.1/8 in 18-49, 12.01m). It also was tops among the Big Four in the demo on five of seven nights.

Overall for the Dec. 10-16 frame, CBS won in adults 18-49 with a season-high 3.1 rating/9 share, well ahead of NBC (2.3/7), with Fox (1.6/4), ABC (1.5/4) and Univision (1.3/4) barely appearing in the Eye’s rear-view mirror.

CBS also claimed the largest margins of victory for any net during any week this fall in both adults 25-54 (4.0 rating to a 2.8 for runner-up NBC) and total viewers (11.9 million to 7.3 million for NBC).

And at the roughly one-third mark of the season, CBS is within two-tenths of NBC in adults 18-49 (2.9 to 3.1) and has moved into sole possession of leadership in adults 25-54 (3.8 to 3.7). The Eye also padded its lead in total viewers last week and is now about 3 million ahead of both ABC and NBC.

CBS continues to click on Thursday, where “The Big Bang Theory” dominated its slot and “Two and a Half Men” (4.1/12, 13.34m) again retained a good chunk of that lead-in. On Wednesday, “Criminal Minds” (3.1/8, 12.01m) has been fall’s most consistent drama performer, and was tops among all hours in 18-49 for the week for the first time this season.

CBS was also strong over the weekend with holiday programming winning on Friday and Saturday and a huge football overrun on Sunday (10.4/29 in 18-49, 32.00m for the final 55 minutes of Steelers-Cowboys) that helped propel “60 Minutes” (4.9/12, 19.63m) to season highs. And behind it, the finale of “Survivor” did well (3.2/8, 11.46m) opposite the big football game and was up 10% over the conclusion of last spring’s edition.

NBC fared well early with “The Voice” (3.8/10 in 18-49, 12.33m on Monday) and closing the frame with “Sunday Night Football” (8.7/22, 23.23m for 49ers-Patriots), with the latter logging its best numbers since the opening Sunday of the football season.

Another highlight was Tuesday drama “Parenthood” (2.0/6, 5.73m), which led its hour in demos. But it was mostly slow going for stripped Howie Mandel gameshow “Take It All,” which opened decently Monday (2.2/5, 7.12m) behind “The Voice,” but dipped to a 3 share on nights when it didn’t have that strong lead-in.

Fox and ABC had quiet weeks, with the former led by “The X Factor” on Wednesday (2.7/8, 7.79m) and the latter by “Modern Family” on the same night (4.2/11, 10.94m). The Alphabet’s “Scandal” (2.4/7, 7.14m) delivered good scores for its fall finale Thursday despite a preemption in Philadelphia for Eagles football.

In cable, ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” (5.5/15, 14.48m) led the way even with a lopsided result in what was expected to be a competitive showdown between the Patriots and Texans.

Discovery had a big Tuesday, beating ABC and Fox in adults 18-49 and ruling as TV’s No. 1 network in men 18-49 (2.4/7) behind “American Chopper” (2.0/5 in 18-49, 3.91m) and “Amish Mafia” (1.7/5, 3.41m). And one night later, its combo of “Amish Mafia” (1.6/4 in 18-39, 3.64m) and “Moonshiners” (1.6/5, 3.43m) led all of cable in 18-49.

The week’s top scripted original series on cable was FX’s “American Horror Story” in 18-49 (1.3/4) and TNT’s “Rizzoli & Isles” in total viewers (3.79 million).

But in demos, repeats of TBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” beat all scripted originals. In fact, Tuesday’s 9:30 p.m. telecast pulled a 1.5 rating in 18-49 — matching an original seg of Fox’s “The Mindy Project” and handily beating ABC’s original “Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23” (1.0).

Also of note, Showtime saw strong season finales Sunday for “Dexter” (1.4/3 in 18-49, 2.75m) and “Homeland” (0.9/2, 2.29m), with both hitting all-time highs.

More TV

  • CBS HEADQUARTERS

    CBS Warns DirecTV, AT&T U-Verse May Drop Network

    Some of CBS Corp.’s biggest stations and its flagship network could be dropped from AT&T’s various cable and satellite services if a carriage agreement between the companies is not reached by July 19. “CBS has reached timely, fair agreements with hundreds of other cable, satellite, telco and internet providers to carry our industry-leading, fan-favorite programming,”  [...]

  • Billy Porter, 2019 Oscars Gown, Actors

    Watch Emilia Clarke, Billy Porter and More 2019 Emmy Nominees on Variety's 'Actors on Actors'

    What did Emmy nominee Billy Porter from “Pose” learn about women from co-nominee Rachel Brosnahan on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel?” What does Michael Douglas respect the most about Benicio del Toro’s acting ability? And how does Maya Rudolph’s recent meditations on the afterlife in the “The Good Place” coincide with the conversations Natasha Lyonne’s thoughts [...]

  • Russian Doll

    2019 Emmy Nominations Did Right by a Great Year in Comedy (Column)

    Even before the 2019 Emmy nominations were announced, the biggest and most obvious story belonged to the fact that last year’s drama nominees almost completely cleared the way for the final season of “Game of Thrones.” But for as weak as the drama categories are overall (give or take a “Pose”), the comedy categories have [...]

  • Big Little Lies Stranger Things

    Here's Why 'Big Little Lies' and 'Stranger Things' Weren't Nominated for 2019 Emmys

    Meryl Streep joined “Big Little Lies” this season, and “Stranger Things” broke a Netflix record — so why didn’t either show score an Emmy nomination? Every year, critically acclaimed and fan-favorite shows are noticeably omitted from the Emmy nominations, but not because they were snubbed. It’s because they’re not eligible.  This year, ineligible series include [...]

  • Game of Thrones Finale

    'Game of Thrones' Emmy Love Confounds the Show's Critics (Column)

    Today’s widespread Emmy recognition for “Game of Thrones” — now the most-Emmy-nominated series for a single season, a record that it seems odd the heavily-decorated drama didn’t already have — comes in most senses as no surprise. This series is both an awards favorite, having won the top prize at the ceremony for its last [...]

  • Elisabeth Moss Handmaid's Tale

    Emmys 2019: Writing, Directing Nominations Far From Parity

    While big name television writers and directors including Amy Sherman-Palladino and Ava DuVernay saw Emmy nominations this year, overall, the state of parity in such behind-the-scenes nods is far from being achieved. Looking closely at the directing fields for scripted series this year, the drama category is 75% male and 25% female nominees, while the [...]

  • Emmy Queen Bey? Beyonce's 'Homecoming' Lands

    Beyoncé's 'Homecoming' Documentary Lands Six Emmy Nominations

    It’s going to be a busy awards season for Beyonce. She could be up for Grammys or Oscars in the next six months, but she’s already made a splash with the fresh crop of Emmy nominations. Her documentary/concert movie “Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé” has been nominated for six Emmys, and a win in most [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content