CBS Narrowly Beats Fox for First in Key Demo on Monday

Rash Report: Another Static Storyline

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MINNEAPOLIS ( -- "Just another manic Monday," sang the Bangles. But of course, the song was about getting to work. Once home, viewers could sing a slightly different refrain, as last night it was just another static Monday.

'The Big Bang Theory'
'The Big Bang Theory' Credit: CBS
Which doesn't mean it wasn't interesting. But Monday's somewhat surprising storylines so far this season have seemingly settled into patterns. CBS, for instance, which won overall with a 4.1/10 rating and share in the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic, once again saw "The Big Bang Theory" (5.0/12) receive two-tenths of a ratings point higher than lead-in "Two and a Half Men" (4.8/11) to be the night's, and the week's, highest-rated sitcom. "Big Bang" didn't have much of one relative to last week, however, as its rating was up a steady, but not spectacular, 6%, while "Men's" adults increased 9%. Lead-out "CSI: Miami" (4.0/11) was up 3% and won the 10 p.m. timeslot.

And, even though the first hour was in second place, "How I Met Your Mother" (3.6/9) and "Accidentally on Purpose" (3.0/7) were also relatively even, as each were up two-tenths of a ratings point.

The second place finish was because Fox's "House" -- again -- won the timeslot, this time with a 5.2/13, which was off just by two-tenths from last week. Lead-out "Lie to Me" (2.8/7) did drop 10%, but that wasn't enough to keep Fox from repeating their second-place finish, as it averaged a 4.0/10.

For third-place ABC (3.2/8), fourth-place NBC (1.9/5) and fifth-place the CW (1.2/3) the static pattern was, well, static. ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" (3.6/9) had one-tenth of a ratings point more compared to last week, as did lead-out "Castle" (2.3/6). NBC's "Heroes" (2.4/6) was even, followed by "Trauma" (1.8/4) and "The Jay Leno Show" (1.6/4), which were each up a tenth of a ratings point from last week.

As for the CW, not only were "One Tree Hill" and "Gossip Girl" up an identical tenth of a ratings point, but each had a 1.2/3.

There was, however, one big variation from last week, and curiously it came from a show that's in its 39th season: ESPN's "Monday Night Football." No, not the game itself; the rivalry between the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins is always fierce, and last night's game was won by Miami with six seconds left. Rather the rating (5.4/14), which, while still the night's top-rated show, was down 40% from last week's all-time top cable rating of 9.0/23 when Brett Favre's Minnesota Vikings took on his old team, the Green Bay Packers.

Rash gridsEnlarge
See how all the shows did in the ratings.

For broadcast, these static storylines evoke a different Bangles song: "If She Knew What She Wants." At least as far as network TV goes, she, as well as men, who make up the adult 18-49 demo, do know.

Tuesday: The best broadcast journalists take on the toughest topic: Afghanistan, as PBS's "Frontline" examines "Obama's War."
Wednesday: OK, so you've sampled ABC's "Cougar Town" and sated your Courteney Cox curiosity with her post-"Friends" return to network TV. Now turn back to the best show in the time period, Fox's "Glee," which, although uneven, can make viewers giddy when it connects.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Relatively strong ratings from one of TV's least-likely hits, Fox's "Hell's Kitchen."

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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's Compass Media, Minneapolis. For more, see

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