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CBS makes crime pay with 8th straight ratings win

November 25, 2008 |  1:33 pm

Mentalist With another set of strong performances from its crime procedurals — including the season’s top new hit, “The Mentalist” — CBS won its eighth straight week based on total viewers. Meanwhile, Sunday’s special American Music Awards helped ABC to a win in the ad-friendly demographic of adults ages 18 to 49.

CBS' scripted dramas showed strength across the board, lifting the network to a win every weeknight except Monday for the period ending Nov. 23, according to figures published Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research. Leading the way were "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (18.4 million) and "NCIS" (18 million), with "The Mentalist" not too far behind (15.8 million).

ABC's Monday-night show "Dancing With the Stars" was the week's most-watched program (19.6 million), and numbers were surprisingly strong for the three-hour American Music Awards (5.1 rating/12 share in 18-49; 12.2 million total viewers). Saturday's Texas Tech-Oklahoma football game (10.7 million viewers) helped too.

Fox's made-for-TV movie "24: Redemption" — the strike-delayed Season 7 of the spy thriller starts in January — was solid but not dominating on Sunday (12.1 million), finishing third behind the music awards and NBC's NFL game (15.2 million). Beyond football, fourth-place NBC plumped its results a bit with Tuesday's "Biggest Loser" (3.2 rating/8 share; 7.8 million viewers overall).

Overall, CBS won the week with an average of 12 million viewers, trailed by ABC (10.1 million), Fox (8.4 million) and NBC (7.1 million).

Basic cable had a relatively quiet week, with the No. 1 program ESPN's Monday match-up between the Buffalo Bills and the Cleveland Browns (11.6 million).

--Scott Collins

(Photo courtesy CBS)