CBS wins TV premiere week, NBC makes biggest gains

Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:10pm EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - CBS won the first week of the new U.S. TV season, but big investments by struggling NBC in new scripted shows paid off with the network seeing the biggest year-to-year growth of its four broadcast rivals.

Television viewer data on Tuesday showed that ABC, boosted by its celebrity-laden "Dancing With the Stars" and Emmy-winning comedy "Modern Family", finished second overall in total viewers after the first week.

Fox came in bottom, despite its hit musical comedy "Glee" bringing in 12.5 million viewers and being the most-watched entertainment show among 18-49 year-olds.

On Tuesday, Fox canceled its critically-acclaimed but low performing new show "Lone Star" which became the first casualty of the new season

Nielsen figures for the first week of the 2010-11 season showed CBS in the lead with an average 12.5 million total viewers nightly and 13 of the top 20 shows in prime-time hours, followed by ABC with 9.6 million, NBC with 8.1 million and Fox with 6.5 million total viewers.

In the 18-49 audience group most coveted by advertisers, the positions were little changed with CBS first, followed by ABC and NBC tying for 2nd, and Fox fourth.

On the back of new shows "Hawaii Five-O" and comedies "$#*! My Dad Says" and "Mike & Molly", CBS swept premiere week in total viewers, adults 18-49 and adults 25-54 for the first time in 2004. The network -- which also finished as the most-watched last season -- was up six percent in total viewers compared to premiere week a year ago.

NBC grew 8 percent with costly new shows like mystery drama "The Event" and new comedy "Outsourced" getting off to good starts and bumper audiences for Sunday football.   Continued...

<p>Actress Alyson Hannigan poses at a CBS television fall season premiere event in Los Angeles September 16, 2010. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>