CBS peaks in bleak season

Wed Dec 24, 2008 12:37am EST
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By Nellie Andreeva

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - CBS is in the black.

Following its 12th consecutive weekly victory in total viewers, CBS on Tuesday became the first major broadcast network this season to move into positive year-to-year territory since premiere week.

Through December 21, CBS has averaged 12 million viewers, up 1% from last year. NBC, ABC and Fox are each down 9%.

All of the Big Four are still in the red in the adults 18-49 demo, with CBS closest to breaking even at minus 3%.

CBS has been a bright spot in a gloomy fall broadcast season marred by across-the-board ratings declines.

Led by resurgent Monday comedies and veteran procedural "NCIS" as well as this fall's breakout hit, "The Mentalist," the network has posted year-to-year gains for the past six weeks.

With the broadcast networks airing mostly reruns from Thursday-Sunday last week, five CBS series -- comedies "The Big Bang Theory," "How I Met Your Mother" and "Worst Week" and dramas "NCIS" and "Mentalist" -- registered series highs in viewers, adults 18-49 or both. Veterans "Two and a Half Men" and "Without a Trace" saw their best marks of the season.

CBS, which averaged 11.2 million viewers and a 2.7 rating/8 share in adults 18-49 for the week, had nine of the 10 most-watched programs, including the top two, "NCIS" (20 million viewers) and "Mentalist" (19.3 million).   Continued...

<p>Cars enter and exit CBS Television City in Los Angeles, California, November 4, 2007. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>