'Survivor: China' Finale Solid for CBS

TVWeek's James Hibberd: Rated

Published on .

Aside from Fox's half-hour of NFL overrun, CBS' "Survivor: China" finale topped Sunday night in preliminary Nielsen ratings. The veteran reality series closed its 15th season by posting strong returns in the 18 to 49 demographic (5.1 rating) and among total viewers (15.1 million).

The two-hour event saw a "slippery" 22-year-old flight attendant take home the $1 million prize.

Although the finale was down 11% from last December, the show has sturdily ruled its regular Thursday time period amid falling ratings for many shows this season, particularly in recent weeks. Last night's one-hour reunion special (4.5, down 12%) came in second in the 10 p.m. hour behind NBC's tentative NFL delivery.

At the conclusion of the reunion show, "Survivor" host Jeff Probst announced a format twist for next season: A tribe of the show's "super fans" will compete against a group of popular contestants from previous seasons—thus mixing an "All Stars" edition and a somewhat traditional "Survivor" contestant crop.

With its average dragged down by an episode of "60 Minutes" (2.6), CBS finished second for the night.

Fox won the evening, boosted by the half-hour of NFL overrun (8.2). New episodes of "The Simpsons" (4.8), "King of the Hill" (3.7) and "American Dad" (3.5) mingled with a "Family Guy" repeat (4.2).

NBC was third with its presentation of "Football Night in America" (2.5) and "Sunday Night Football: Washington Redskins at New York Giants" (4.8).

ABC was last among the major networks, airing "America's Funniest Home Videos" (2.7), "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (4.2) and repeats of "Desperate Housewives" (2.4) and "Brothers & Sisters" (1.7).

The CW aired repeats, aside from an original of "CW Now" (0.4).

On Friday: CBS won all three hours with its regular lineup of "Ghost Whisperer" (2.6), "Moonlight" (2.1) and "Numb3rs" (2.5).
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