CBS continues to breeze through summer, winning the Nielsen ratings battle for the fourth week in a row. This time, however, it was boosted not just by its lineup of reliable repeats but also by a pair of returning reality shows.
Last Tuesday's season premieres of "The Amazing Race" and "Big Brother" garnered a healthy 10.3 and 9.6 million viewers respectively, placing 10th and 12th for the week among total viewers. Both shows also landed in the top 10 of the advertiser-coveted 18-to-49 demographic, giving CBS its first win of the summer in that age group.
CBS had eight of the top 10 shows in total viewers, averaging 8.8 million, nearly 2 million more than NBC's average audience of 6.9 million. Further down the charts, ABC managed just 5.1 million viewers while Fox drew just 4.5 million.
Overall, CBS has won five of the six weeks of summer since the regular television season ended in May. ABC claimed victory once during the NBA finals.
CBS's "60 Minutes," which featured an interview with the presumptive Democratic presidential ticket of John Kerry and John Edwards, interested 12 million viewers Sunday. Only Dan Rather's interview with Bill Clinton three weeks earlier has drawn a bigger audience for the newsmagazine this summer.
Part 1 of USA Network's science fiction miniseries "The 4400" was cable's most-watched show, drawing 7.4 million viewers Sunday. The two-hour drama, USA's best performing program since the network's version of "Moby Dick" six years ago, beat out the ABC special "The Great Domestic Showdown" head-to-head by more than 3 million viewers. USA's "4400" also came within a million viewers of the CBS movie "Catch a Falling Star."
CNBC's new talk show "McEnroe," hosted by the former bad boy of tennis, doesn't have viewers jumping the nets. In its first four airings (it debuted last Wednesday), the daily talk show has averaged 146,000 viewers, which is down nearly 40 percent from what "The News With Brian Williams" was drawing in the same time period last year.
The week's 10 most watched programs, in order, were: CBS's "CSI," "CSI: Miami," "Two and a Half Men," "Without a Trace," "Everybody Loves Raymond," "60 Minutes" and "Cold Case"; NBC's "Law & Order: SVU" and "Law & Order"; and CBS's "Amazing Race 5."