‘Big Bang,’ ‘NCIS’ Lift CBS to Demo Victory for Season

Eye captured the season that ended May 22 in primetime’s most important demo

You can put away the fogey jokes, because CBS has climbed to the top of Demo Mountain.

With as many of the top scripted series among adults 18-49 as its three rivals combined, the Eye captured the season that ended May 22 in primetime’s most important demo — its first such triumph in 21 years. It had placed second to an “American Idol”-fueled Fox for the previous six seasons.

The net also finished on top in total viewers for the 10th time in the past 11 years, winning by the largest margin of any network in 24 years.

NCIS unseated NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” as primetime’s most-watched series, while “The Big Bang Theory” leapfrogged ABC’s “Modern Family” as the No. 1 comedy in 18-49.

CBS’ ascent coincides with the struggles of Fox, which tumbled 22% from last year as “American Idol” fell by nearly 30%.

Despite a woeful winter, NBC had a decent season, as “The Voice” replaced “Idol” as the No. 1 reality series in 18-49, and the net posted its most competitive finish in nine years — just a tick behind second-place Fox.

This was a rocky season for the Big Four, down a combined 10% year to year in 18-49 and off 7% in total viewers, according to preliminary numbers.

Smaller broadcast networks Univision, Telemundo and CW fared better by comparison, as all three drew more viewers this season than last.

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