Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: CBS won the ratings race this week, thanks in no small measure to ”CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” which was the week’s most-watched show. That’s been the case for most of the rerun-filled summer. ”CSI” drew 14.6 million viewers, according to Nielsen, helping CBS win the ratings race with an average for the week of 8.7 million viewers, beating perennial second-place finisher NBC (7.5 million). Still, there were some surprise winners as well on various networks.
For CBS, the surprise was original movie ”Code 11-14,” which had sat on the shelves for two years because of its airline-hijack plotline. Airing Sunday, it was the third most-watched show of the week. Also strong was ”Without a Trace” (No. 2 for the week), which has finally begun to capitalize on its ”CSI” lead-in this summer.
The success story at ABC (third place, 6.6 million) was preseason football. The network scored with Monday’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers-St. Louis Rams game (No. 8), though football performed only so-so at other times during the week on Fox and CBS.
Fox (fourth place, 6 million) saw growing numbers for new series ”The O.C.” The teen soap finished at No. 31 with nearly 8 million viewers.
Outside of top-20 finishes for the various ”Law & Order” shows, reality continued to rule for NBC. ”For Love or Money” finished at No. 13, ”Meet My Folks” at No. 30, and ”The Restaurant” at No. 32. Competing strongly against ”Without a Trace” was NBC’s latest crossover episode of Bravo’s ”Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” which finished in 29th place with 8.02 million viewers. The show’s latest success comes as Random House’s Clarkson Potter imprint announced the inevitable ”Queer Eye” spinoff book. According to the New York Post, the publisher paid a $1 million advance for the how-to, subtitled ”The Fab Five’s Guide to Looking Better, Cooking Better, Dressing Better, Behaving Better and Living Better.” The book hits stores in February.