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CBS clutches ratings victory for 11th straight week

December 16, 2008 | 12:30 pm

Csi With seven of the top 10 most-watched programs, CBS had another dominant week in the ratings, notching its 11th straight weekly victory among total viewers.

Led by "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (20.9 million), the No. 2 program, CBS carried the week ending Dec. 14 with an average of 11.9 million viewers, distantly trailed by NBC (8.8 million), ABC (6.3 million) and Fox (6 million), according to figures published Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

CBS has posted year-to-year ratings gains for five straight weeks, relying on a reliable roster of existing scripted series such as "Two and a Half Men" (15.6 million) plus a noteworthy newcomer, the cop drama "The Mentalist" (13.7 million). Last week also included the Sunday finale of "Survivor: Gabon" (13.8 million).

The network's strength was not confined to total viewers. Among the ad-friendly demographic of adults aged 18 to 49, CBS had six of the top 10 shows, led by "CSI" (5.8 rating/15 share). The network also led four nights in that demographic.

The other networks had relatively unimpressive weeks, as is typical in a pre-holiday period. NBC's results were skewed upward by the huge audience for its Sunday NFL match between the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys (23 million). That was not only the week's top program but also the highest number for any game in the three years NBC has aired Sunday prime-time football.

NBC also got a nice result from "The Office" (4.7/12 in 18-49, 8.8 million viewers overall), in part because ABC aired a low-rated repeat of "Grey's Anatomy."

On basic cable, the top program was ESPN's Monday game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers (11.6 million).

-- Scott Collins 

(Photo courtesy CBS)