CBS Wins Night With 'Old Christine,' 'Gary Unmarried'

Rash Report: Not Bad for a Wednesday Night, With Most Shows Up

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- It was a pretty good night for an average night of prime-time programming. Wednesday, after all, is a hump day for TV as well as workers. In-between Thursday's drama (ABC's "Grey's Anatomy"), reality (CBS's "Survivor") and comedy (NBC's "The Office" and "30 Rock") cornucopia, and the kick the NFL gives ratings on Sunday and Monday as well as the new blood of new dramas on CBS' Tuesday night schedule, Wednesday is usually lower rated.

Along with 'Gary Unmarried,' 'The New Adventures of Old Christine' tied its season high.
Along with 'Gary Unmarried,' 'The New Adventures of Old Christine' tied its season high. Credit: Greg Gayne/ Warner Bros.
And it was again this week, with a five-network nightly average rating of 2.3 in the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic. Comparatively, that was less than half of Sunday's four-network average, a 4.7 rating (which was spiked by NBC's "Sunday Night Football" scoring a 7.3). But even without the gridiron on the grid, Wednesday was 82% of Monday's five network average of 2.8 and 92% of Tuesday's 2.5.

But despite the demos being lower than most mid-week nights, most shows were up compared to normal levels. CBS once again won the night with an overall 3.1/9 rating and share, with "The New Adventures of Old Christine" (2.2/7) and "Gary Unmarried" (2.4/7) both tying season highs. At 9 p.m., "Criminal Minds" locked up 9% more viewers than last week and was only off a tenth of a ratings point behind its season best. But at 10 p.m., "CSI: NY" (3.2/9) slipped 16% from last week's ratings, which were spiked due to "NY" being the second episode of the "CSI" trilogy scheduling stunt.

ABC finished third with a 2.6/7, which was considerably lower than last week's "CMA Awards" ratings. But compared to regularly scheduled programs two weeks ago, most were up -- including a repeat of "Modern Family" (1.9/6), which replaced the canceled "Hank" and increased the demo delivery by 46%. "The Middle" (2.4/7) was high as well, up 26% from two weeks ago to its second-highest delivery ever. The next hour, both "Modern Family" (3.7/10) and "Cougar Town" (3.2/8) were up 6% and 14%, respectively, from a fortnight ago. And Janet Jackson, interviewed by Robin Roberts in the latest "In the Spotlight" special (2.3/7), cast a spell over 53% more viewers than the modern-day witches in the last episode of "Eastwick," which has since been canceled.

And NBC (fourth, 2.0/6), even had an OK night, as at least "The Jay Leno Show" stayed steady with last week's 1.4/4, and "Law and Order: SVU" matched its 2.6/7 season average. And at 8p.m. "Mercy" (2.0/6) was up a tenth of a ratings point ahead of its season average and up 18% over last week's delivery.

Rash grids
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See how all the shows did in the ratings.
As for Fox (second with a 2.7/7) and the CW (fifth, 1.3/4), the season finale of "America's Next Top Model" on the CW may have siphoned some viewers from rival reality show "So You Think You Can Dance" (2.1/6) on Fox, as "Dance" had 19% fewer partners than its usual crowd (although it was only down a tenth of a ratings point from last week).

"Top Model" was off a tenth of a ratings point from last May and 22% from last fall's finale.

Finally, as usual, the irrepressible "Glee" bounced back from its "Dancing" lead-in, up 57% to match its season average of 3.3/9. Not necessarily a high note, mind you, at least compared to some network hits. But for a Wednesday, it was something to sing about.

WHAT TO WATCH:
Thursday: Your DVR capacity, as every show has an original episode on the last Thursday of November sweeps.
Friday: Given her celebrity interview style, don't expect too many rogue policy questions from Barbara Walters as she interviews Sarah Palin on ABC's "20/20." So if you're wondering whether the pop culture impact over her "Going Rogue" book will translate into political success, turn to the "Shields and Brooks" political analysis on PBS's "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer."

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Ratings retention for tonight's "CSI" on CBS, which got a badly needed boost with its crossover trilogy last week.

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NOTE: All ratings based on adults 18-49. A share is a percentage of adults 18-49 who have their TV sets on at a given time. A rating is a percentage of all adults 18-49, whether or not their sets are turned on. For example, a 1.0 rating is 1% of the total U.S. adults 18-49 population with TVs. Ratings quoted in this column are based on live-plus-same-day unless otherwise noted. (Many ad deals have been negotiated on the basis of commercial-minute, live-plus-three-days viewing.)

John Rash is senior VP-director of media analysis for Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis. For more, see rashreport.com.

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