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Exit of Controversial Contestant Puts CBS’ ‘Big Brother’ on Top

Aaryn Gries denies being a racist in exit chat with host Julie Chen on Thursday night

UPDATE: As expected, the ratings for all broadcast programs were revised downward in the nationals released Friday afternoon by Nielsen. Though “Big Brother” was still the top show in young adults (1.8 rating/5 share in adults 18-49, 5.05 million viewers overall), it was actually below average due to preemptions and delays in about 40% of the country for preseason NFL action. Among originals on other networks, NBC’s “Hollywood Game Night” fell to a 1.0/3 in 18-49 and 2.82 million viewers overall — a bit ahead in the demo of ABC’s “Rookie Blue” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 4.42 million viewers overall) and “Motive” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 4.72 million viewers overall).

Big Brother” was the top program on Thursday as the CBS reality veteran got a boost from the episode that saw the eviction of one of the season’s controversial contestants.

Ratings for all programs on Thursday are likely inflated due to preemptions on local ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox stations for preseason NFL action, but in the early Nielsens, “Big Brother” was up week to week. In the 9 o’clock hour, its 2.6 rating/8 share was about as big as the next two closest nets combined.

Aaryn Gries, who had caused a ruckus earlier in the season by making derogatory statements about Asians, blacks and gays, was the contestant voted out of the game on Thursday — and on her way out she was confronted by host Julie Chen.

Chen, who earlier this summer used her daytime talkshow “The Talk” to voice her displeasure with the actions of some of the houseguests, got a chance to confront Gries face to face in her exit interview Thursday night.

Gries told Chen she’s a misunderstood Texan and that “I did not mean to ever comes off as racist. … “In Texas, we say things. Sometimes we joke and we don’t mean it. I feel how bad it is being seen and how I’ve come across to people. I don’t want to seem like that person.”

Chen read some of the offensive comments to Gries, who couldn’t mount much of a defense. “I apologize to anyone I offended for that,” she said. “That was not meant to be serious and if I said those things, I feel horrible for that. I regret that.”

Gries lost her model agency job after some of her incendiary comments earlier this summer, but, due to the sequestered nature of the game, she will not learn that until after the show ends in a couple of weeks.

As for the night’s ratings, “Big Brother” will likely remain the top program but figures to come down in the nationals due to preemptions or delays in some cities. In the early numbers, “Brother” was up half a ratings point from the previous week.

Elsewhere, CBS opened the night with encores of “Two and a Half Men” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 7.2 million viewers overall at 8 and 1.9/6 in 18-49, 7.6 million viewers overall at 8:30) and closed with an encore of “Elementary” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 5.9 million viewers overall).

At NBC, a repeat of “America’s Got Talent” (1.4/5 in 18-49, 5.2 million viewers overall) was followed by an encore of “Hollywood Game Night” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall) and then an original episode of “Game Night” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 4.8 million viewers overall). A 1.5 would be a series high for “Game Night,” which has been renewed for a second season, but it’s unlikely to stay that high in the nationals due to football.

Similarly, “Motive” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 6.4 million viewers overall for its two-hour finale) and “Rookie Blue” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 6.0 million viewers overall) were at season highs and will come down in the nationals.

Fox aired repeats of “Glee” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 4.6 million viewers overall), “New Girl” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 4.6 million viewers overall) and “The Mindy Project” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 4.2 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 2.0/6; NBC, 1.5/5; ABC and Fox, 1.4/4; Univision, 1.3/4; Telemundo, 0.5/2; CW, 0.4/1.

In total viewers: CBS, 7.2 million; ABC, 6.3 million; NBC, 4.9 million; Fox, 4.5 million; Univision, 3.4 million; Telemundo, 1.3 million; CW, 1.1 million.

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