CBS Comes of Age

Back when we were doing DIAGNOSIS MURDER for CBS, their big hit dramas were TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL, WALKER TEXAS RANGER, and JUDGING AMY. They were barely competitive on  Thursday nights with DIAGNOSIS MURDER and 48 HOURS… and nothing else they put on that night could survive. Their attempts to draw a younger demographic, like CENTRAL PARK WEST, were embarrassing failures.  It seemed there was nothing CBS could to do to draw younger audiences to their network.

Then along came CSI…which changed everything.  The stunning, unexpected, overnight success of CSI was followed by WITHOUT A TRACE, COLD CASE, NAVY NCIS, and the other CSIs. Now,  CBS has accomplished something nobody thought possible… today Variety reports they’re the number one network in number of viewers and demographics.

In what Leslie Moonves called a "watershed moment" for his network, CBS has scaled to the top of Demo Mountain, sweeping November in all key ratings categories.

The Eye remains the oldest-skewing of the networks, but its big-tent strategy of delivering programs that attract viewers of all ages — and in both red and blue states — has worked to perfection so far this fall, including the four-week sweep period that will wrap tonight.

Net has been pacing well ahead of its rivals for a couple of years in total viewers, but started making a demo push last season when it eked out a victory in adults 25-54 while placing third in adults 18-49.

Now it has become the net to beat in 18-49, the demographic that most closely correlates to advertising revenue.

"Way back when I took this job (in 1995), I said there was no way CBS will ever win in 18-49," Moonves said. "It was something we didn’t even dream about."

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