CBS is the new NBC. The eye network said so yesterday when it crowed that it had won the first six weeks of the TV season -- a feat last accomplished in fall 1988 season by NBC with the help of "The Cosby Show," "Cheers" and "The Golden Girls."
Here's a look at the week's hot and not:
CBS. Six of last week's 10 most watched shows aired on CBS, starting with a "CSI" rerun that clocked more than 24 million viewers. Season-to-date, CBS has a 2-million-viewer lead over closest competitor ABC.
"Criminal Minds." A rerun of CBS's surprisingly strong freshman crime drama Wednesday stomped on a rerun of ABC's oh-so-hot soph series "Lost" among viewers overall and the 18-to-49-year-olds both networks chase. ABC pointed out the "Lost" rerun already had been rebroadcast once before this season, on a Saturday night. And whose fault is that?
"Grey's Anatomy." In its first broadcast following a "Desperate Housewives" rerun, ABC's Sunday drama about lusty doctors built on that lead-in by nearly 3 million viewers. ABC rewarded it immediately, announcing it would get the coveted post-Super Bowl slot Feb. 5.
"NCIS." CBS's military crime drama broke the 18 million viewer mark last week. A week earlier it broke the 17 million mark; two weeks before that it broke 16 million for the first time.
"Human Trafficking." Having scored an Academy Award tackling the lighthearted, sexy side of prostitution in "Mighty Aphrodite," Mira Sorvino tackled the more problematic side in this Lifetime two-parter. Part 1, on Monday, logged 5.1 million viewers and became the most watched original movie on basic cable so far this year. Part 2 eclipsed that the next night with 5.8 million.
Madeleine Albright launched her TV career in a big way when her cameo on WB's "Gilmore Girls" caused the show to finish the week as the most watched program on WB or UPN -- a crown held most weeks this season by Chris Rock's "Everybody Hates Chris."
World Series. Lowest-rated Series ever, it averaged a puny 17.2 million viewers (compared with last year's 25.4 million) even though it marked the Chicago White Sox' first Series win in 88 years, which just screams Steven Spielberg/Tom Hanks flick in the making. Depending on whether you're a Little Ender or a Big Ender, this is because (a) the games all started so late and why can't they bring back the good old days when the Series aired during the day and you snuck your portable radio into class to listen, or (b) nobody cares about the White Sox, aka That Other Team in Chicago, much less the Houston Astros, which is okay if the Series goes to seven games, but which, combined with a four-game sweep, is a lethal combination.
"Vampire Bats." Lacking the insouciance of CBS's "Locusts" and the artless grace of its "Spring Break Shark Attack," "Vampire Bats" pretty much sucked the life out of the network's Sunday flick ratings. An anemic 6.5 million watched Lucy Lawless investigate why nasty bats are draining the life out of a quaint Louisiana town.
"Over There." FX network announced yesterday that it would not pick up a second season of its Iraq war drama, a decision that FX President John Landgraf said was based entirely on its lousy numbers, which "were reflective of what the show is about rather than its quality or entertainment value." "Over There" opened with an impressive 4.1 million viewers but wound up with 882,000 viewers for the season finale. "While we are passionately committed to fostering great television, we are an advertiser-supported network and the size of our audience is vital to our bottom line," Landgraf said, marking the most candid statement ever made by a network suit in the history of the medium.
The week's 10 most watched shows, in order, were CBS's "CSI" and "Without a Trace"; World Series Game 4 on Fox; CBS's "CSI: Miami," "NCIS," "Survivor: Guatemala" and "Two and a Half Men"; ABC's "Grey's Anatomy"; World Series Game 3 on Fox; and ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."