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Ratings Chart Attack! is the TV industry’s destination for a daily dose of prime-time ratings. Delivering the daily scoop on which shows are scoring. TVWeek’s Sergio Ibarra calls the winners and losers, and what it means to broadcast network programmers. From day-in, day-out ratings to long-view trends and noteworthy performances, Ratings Chart Attack! delivers.

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Strong ‘Mentalist’ Lifts CBS, But Fox Wins in 18-49

December 3, 2008 10:51 AM

CBS’ “The Mentalist” drew its highest audience to date Tuesday, while a holiday special and the return of “According to Jim” dropped ABC to fourth place in the nightly ratings.

Mentalist

“The Mentalist” wrangled a 3.8 rating/9 share in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research data. The show also brought in 18.8 million viewers, its largest audience ever, thanks to the absence of competition from “Dancing With the Stars.”

“NCIS” (3.7/10, 18.5 million) and “Without a Trace” (3.7/10, 12.2 million) were on average with last week’s results. CBS took first in viewers with 16.5 million and third in adults 18-49 with 3.3/9.

With “Stars” gone, ABC fell to fourth. The holiday special “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” (3.1/8) was even with last year’s airing. Two episodes of “According to Jim” (2.2/6, 2.0/5) improved 83% and 67% over the comedy’s start last year, while “Eli Stone” (1.6/4) tied its lowest rating of the season.

ABC placed fourth for the night with a 2.2/6.

Fox won Tuesday with a 4.3/11, on the backs of “House” (5.0/13) and “Fringe” (3.7/9). “House” declined two-tenths of a ratings point from last week, while “Fringe” improved 9%.

NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” (3.4/9) also benefited from a lack of “Stars” competition, moving up 31% from last week. “Law and Order: SVU” (3.6/10) was on par. NBC nabbed second place with a 3.4/9.

The CW was in repeats for a fifth-place finish at a 0.4/1.

Odds and Ends:

—A first for MyNet: The fledgling broadcast network beat The CW in adults 18-49 (0.6/2 vs. 0.5/1) and total viewers (1.86 million vs. 1.4 million) for the week of Nov. 24. “WWE’s Friday Night Smackdown” has helped move the needle positively for MyNet, and the “World Magic Awards” lifted the network further during the week of Nov. 24. To be fair, The CW has stated that its key demographic is women 18-34.

—Spanish-language network Telemundo pulled in its highest November ratings in 16 years. For Monday-through-Friday prime time, Telemundo averaged 1.2 million viewers, an increase of 27% from last year, and grew 26% in adults 18-49.

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