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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - CBS topped the ratings for the third consecutive week, despite a hefty drop suffered by "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," the most-watched series on broadcast television.
The crime drama averaged 19.3 million viewers last Thursday, a drop of 18 percent from its ninth season premiere the week before. But the week's No. 2 show, CBS' "NCIS" was up (18.0 million vs. 16.3 million), and the network claimed five of the top 10 shows during the week ended October 19.
CBS' new Tuesday drama "The Mentalist" (14.9 million) was the best of the rookies, ranking No. 5, and was recently rewarded with a full-season pickup.
Weaker headlines for CBS include the Friday freshman drama "The Ex-List" (6.3 million) and Tuesday's water-treading crime drama "Without a Trace" (11 million).
For the week, CBS averaged 11.5 million viewers, followed by ABC (9.2 million), NBC (7.2 million) and Fox (6.7 million).
ABC was led by "Dancing with the Stars" (17.8 million, No. 3) and "Desperate Housewives" (15.5 million, No. 4). Thursday rookie "Life on Mars" dropped 27 percent in its second week (8.2 million vs. 11.3 million), and the return of "Eli Stone" was down 24 percent from its series premiere in January (8.4 million vs. 11.1 million).
NBC had "Sunday Night Football" (10 million viewers, No. 19) as its highest-rated show, although it was down 24 percent from the week before. The second "Saturday Night Live" primetime special drew 8.8 million viewers, down 19 percent from the week before. Friday's two-hour premiere of "Crusoe" drew 7.4 million viewers.
Riddled with baseball pre-emptions, Fox struggled to get traction last week, with "House" (13.3 million, No. 10) and "Fringe" (9.2 million, No. 25) its highest-rated shows.