NEW YORK - As Mandy Patinkin and his crew of FBI profilers are proving on "Criminal Minds," there's a seemingly unquenchable thirst for a well-told crime story on television.
CBS' sophomore drama reached its biggest audience yet of just under 18 million last week, and earned a big reward. CBS announced that a "Criminal Minds" episode will get the plum time slot following the Feb. 4 Super Bowl.
"This is an outstanding opportunity to expose a series that is young in its life cycle and on the rise to an enormous universe of potential new viewers," said Nina Tassler, CBS entertainment president.
In their Wednesday-night competition, "Criminal Minds" beat ABC's "Lost" the last two times they went head-to-head, according to Nielsen Media Research. The CBS series last week crushed the premiere of ABC's new "Day Break," which reached only 4.7 million viewers.
The CBS drama "NCIS" also reached its largest audience of the new season, Nielsen said.
Not all the news was good for CBS: network executives gave the medical drama "3 Lbs" a mercy killing after it drew only 8 million viewers last week.
CBS has won every week of the TV season so far and the last one was no exception, averaging 11.8 million people in prime time (7.5 rating, 12 share). NBC was second with 10.4 million (6.7, 11, and won among the 18-to-49-year-old audience that advertisers pay a premium for. ABC had 10.1 million (6.4, 10), Fox had 8.2 million (5.2, 8), the CW had 3.8 million (2.4, 4) and the i network logged 530,000 viewers (0.4, 1).
Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with 3.6 million (2.0 rating, 3 share), Telemundo had 890,000 (0.5, 1) and TeleFutura had 680,000 (0.4, 1).
During a week that Brian Williams, Charles Gibson and Katie Couric traveled to the Middle East, NBC's "Nightly News" won the evening news ratings race, averaging 9.8 million viewers (6.8, 13). ABC's "World News" had 9.4 million viewers (6.4, 12) and the "CBS Evening News" had 7.7 million (5.4, 10).
A ratings point represents 1,114,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 111.4 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.
For the week of Nov. 27-Dec. 3, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "Grey's Anatomy," ABC, 24.01 million; "NFL Post Game Show," Fox, 21.89 million; "NCIS," CBS, 17.96 million; "Criminal Minds," CBS, 17.92 million; "Deal or No Deal" (Monday), NBC, 17.7 million; "House," Fox, 17.31 million; "CSI: Miami," CBS, 17.13 million; "The OT," Fox, 16.55 million; "CSI: NY," CBS, 16.43 million; "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," CBS, 16.08 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is a division of CBS Corp. Fox is a unit of News Corp. NBC is owned by General Electric Co. Telemundo is owned by General Electric. TeleFutura is a division of Univision. The i network is owned by ION Media Networks.
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