It was only the final week of the summer TV season, but it smelled like the end of an era, what with the Primetime Emmy Awards and Miss America pageant both dying painfully.
Here's a look at the quick and the corpses:
"CSI." The week's most watched new program? Was it the second episode of NBC's new "Friends" spinoff, "Joey"? ABC's 56th annual Primetime Emmy Awards celebrating the best and brightest on the TV landscape? Nope -- CBS's "CSI" rerun, airing Thursday night after the season debut of "Survivor."
"The Apprentice." The second edition of Donald Trump's exercise in self-promotion is down compared with last winter's first edition, but the second episode of the NBC reality series finished the week ranked No. 1 among the 18-to-49-year-olds the network targets.
Siegfried & Roy. The former Vegas lion and tiger trotter-outers scored a ratings coup when their not-a-news-interview with Maria temporarily-not-a-journalist Shriver about Roy Horn's not-a-tiger-mauling copped more than 14 million viewers for NBC, landing in the week's top 10.
"Survivor: Vanuatu." Finally, "Survivor" gets a clear shot without "Friends" and, what's this, its debut goes -- down? The reality show's first episode of the new TV season scored its smallest opening audience since way back in the summer of 2000, before anyone knew what a huge star Jeff Probst was. In the interest of full disclosure, it did score 20 million viewers, outstripping its time-slot competitors on NBC -- "Joey" and the season debut of "Will & Grace" -- among viewers of all ages and viewers in the 18-to-49 demographic. Let's just consider this our culture's ritualistic season-starting pig slaughter.
Primetime Emmy Awards. Oops, turns out you do need to promote the Primetime Emmy Awards show after all, if you want people to watch the broadcast, that is. And it helps if the winning is done mostly by shows on networks that are available in more than a third of the country. Otherwise, like ABC, you're gonna wind up with about 13.8 million viewers -- the trophy show's second smallest audience ever.
"The Wire." While HBO was doing its victory lap at the Emmys Sunday night, scooping up a record number of trophies -- for its miniseries "Angels in America" and "The Sopranos," which had the first-ever cable win for best drama series, among others -- it was simultaneously cannibalizing the audience for the season debut of its returning drama "The Wire," which plunged to 1.8 million viewers that night. The first season of the drama series had opened with 3.7 million viewers and the second season with 4.4 million.
Mark Cuban. Software genius for sure, but billionaire Mark "I am the benefactor" Cuban appears to know nothing about reality TV series, if the "Benefactor" debut audience of 5.5 million is any indication.
Miss America. There they go, Miss America ratings . . .
"OC: Obsess Completely." With just 3.3 million viewers on Fox, finishing No. 6 in its time period, behind even UPN's "Smackdown!" and WB's "Blue Collar TV"? Not.
The week's 10 most watched programs, in order, were: CBS's "CSI" rerun and "Survivor: Vanuatu"; ABC's "Monday Night Football"; NBC's "Will & Grace" season debut; CBS's "Without a Trace" rerun and "60 Minutes"; NBC's "The Apprentice 2," "Joey" and "Siegfried & Roy: The Miracle"; and ABC's 56th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.