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CBS Mainstay Returns to Lower Viewer Numbers TVbytheNumbers

A long-running CBS series made its season debut to lower viewer numbers Wednesday night, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo. TVbytheNumbers.com reports that the reality mainstay “Big Brother” opened to a 2.1 average rating, equaling its lowest-ever premiere, back in July 2008.

The number was down 19% from the 2.6 delivered by last summer’s “Big Brother” premiere.

Leading out from “Big Brother,” CBS’s “The American Baking Competition” matched last week’s 1.2 in viewers 18-49. A repeat of “Criminal Minds” at 10 p.m. on CBS also had a 1.2.

Fox won the night with back-to-back episodes of “MasterChef.” The 8 p.m. program, airing opposite “Big Brother,” matched the CBS show’s 2.1 average in 18-49, while the 9 p.m. installment of “MasterChef” rose to a 2.4. The two programs were up 5% and 4%, respectively, from a week ago.

NBC aired all repeats, and ABC mixed repeats and originals. An original episode of ABC’s “Family Tools” turned in a series-low 0.7 average in 18-49, falling 22% from a week ago, while the series finale of “How to Live With Your Parents” pulled a 0.9, 10% off from the previous week, and a fresh installment of “The Lookout” on ABC also had a 0.9, a series low and 18% below last week.

For prime-time overall, Fox’s 2.3 average led the way in the 18-49 demo, followed by Univision (1.5), CBS (1.5), NBC (1.0) and ABC (0.9). Fox claimed a narrow win in total viewers, averaging 5.74 million to CBS’s 5.66 million, NBC’s 4.45 million, Univision’s 3.91 million and ABC’s 3.35 million.