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Ratings report: CBS is dominant again

October 21, 2008 |  1:22 pm

CBS won its third straight week in the prime-time ratings, propelled by strong showings for “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and “NCIS,” as well as the fall’s top new show, “The Mentalist.”

The network had half of the 10 most-watched shows -– including No. 1 “CSI” (19.3 million total viewers) -- and won every night except Monday and Wednesday for the week ending Oct. 19, according to figures published today by Nielsen Media Research. CBS was also first in the advertiser-friendly demographic of viewers aged 18 to 49 (3.2 rating/9 share versus 2.8/8 for runner-up ABC). The network was the only network to post year-to-year gains in every category and was up 4% in viewers; its competitors all plunged by double digits.

Overall, CBS averaged 11.5 million viewers, leading ABC (9.1 million), NBC (7.2 million) and Fox (6.7 million).

The new season has been particularly tough for ABC, which watched the second airing of its only new scripted show, the cop drama “Life on Mars,” tumble by 32% in 18-49.

Basic cable viewing was dominated by postseason baseball and Wednesday’s third and final presidential debate. The most-watched program was TBS’ Sunday game between the Red Sox and the Rays (13.4 million).

-- Scott Collins