Ratings: 'The Mentalist' tops week of CBS domination

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Question: What was the last freshman series to hit No. 1 in terms of viewership? A week ago, if you had guessed ABC’s Desperate Housewives, you’d have been right. The ladies of Wisteria Lane were tops near the end of their first season. But there’s a new star rookie: CBS’ procedural drama The Mentalist, which found itself atop the TV ratings for the first time during the week of Dec. 1-7. With an astounding 18.7 million viewers, the series beat the next two finishers: NCIS (18.5 million) and the perennial TV heavyweight CSI (17.5 million). What happened? Simon Baker’s good looks—that’s what. Needless to say, The Mentalist can unequivocally be considered a hit.

With ABC’s Dancing with the Stars on hiatus until March, CBS dominated the week. But ABC did find itself at Nos. 4 and 5 thanks to the one-two punch of Desperate Housewives (16.1 million) and the waning Grey’s Anatomy (15.3 million). And the network served up a few year-end specials that earned it more Top 20 love: Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2008 at No. 9 (13.2 million), longtime holiday favorite How the Grinch Stole Christmas at No. 15 (11.4 million), and a more recent holiday offering, Shrek the Halls, at No. 18 (11.1 million).

The rest of the Top 20 for the week was filled out by procedurals, a new Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie starring Patricia Heaton and Treat Williams, and 60 Minutes on CBS; football and Law & Order on NBC; and Fox’s House. The full list with viewership totals is after the jump.

addCredit(“Lance Staedler/CBS”)

1. The Mentalist | CBS | 18.7 million
2. NCIS | CBS | 18.5 million
3. CSI | CBS | 17.5 million
4. Desperate Housewives | ABC | 16.1 million
5. Grey’s Anatomy | ABC | 15.3 million
6. 60 Minutes | CBS | 13.8 million
7. Two and Half Men (R) | CBS | 13.6 million
8. Sunday Night Football | NBC | 13.3 million
9. Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2008 | ABC | 13.2 million
10. Survivor: Gabon | CBS | 12.7 million
11. House | Fox | 12.5 million
12. Without a Trace | CBS | 12.3 million
13. Hallmark Hall of Fame Presentation: Front of the Class | CBS | 11.9 million
14. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer | CBS | 11.8 million
15. How the Grinch Stole Christmas | ABC | 11.4 million
16. Law & Order | NBC | 11.3 million
17. CSI: Miami (R) | CBS | 11.2 million
18. Shrek the Halls | ABC | 11.1 million
19. Eleventh Hour | CBS | 10.9 million
20. Brothers & Sisters | ABC | 10.5 million

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1. The Mentalist | CBS | 18.7 million
2. NCIS | CBS | 18.5 million
3. CSI | CBS | 17.5 million
4. Desperate Housewives | ABC | 16.1 million
5. Grey’s Anatomy | ABC | 15.3 million
6. 60 Minutes | CBS | 13.8 million
7. Two and Half Men (R) | CBS | 13.6 million
8. Sunday Night Football | NBC | 13.3 million
9. Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2008 | ABC | 13.2 million
10. Survivor: Gabon | CBS | 12.7 million
11. House | Fox | 12.5 million
12. Without a Trace | CBS | 12.3 million
13. Hallmark Hall of Fame Presentation: Front of the Class | CBS | 11.9 million
14. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer | CBS | 11.8 million
15. How the Grinch Stole Christmas | ABC | 11.4 million
16. Law & Order | NBC | 11.3 million
17. CSI: Miami (R) | CBS | 11.2 million
18. Shrek the Halls | ABC | 11.1 million
19. Eleventh Hour | CBS | 10.9 million
20. Brothers & Sisters | ABC | 10.5 million

More TV News:
‘Grey’s Anatomy': T.R. Knight wants out!
‘American Idol': Paula Abdul on stalker
Jay Leno goes to Primetime?
Ratings: CBS comedies win the night
‘Heroes’ recap: Mother and child reunion


Comments (9 total) Add your comment
  • meg

    It’s true, I’ve never watched CBS in my life until The Mentalist all because of Simon Baker’s charm.

  • Luisa

    He’s the creepiest-looking thing I’ve ever seen. People are watching for HIM? I fell asleep during The Mentalist. Everyone–go watch a good show, like Pushing Daisies!!!

  • Emma

    Does anyone watch NBC anymore?

  • Ryan

    You gotta give CBS credit. They truly are the only network that is virtually solid… their only true problem area is Wednesdays from 8-9 (and even that comedy block has more viewers than 90% of FOX and NBC’s programs) and Fridays from 9-10.
    Things are looking horrifying for the other nets. All the CW has that gives them decent ratings is Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, Smallville and Americas Next Top Model (to as lesser extent, 90210). ABC’s got massive holes to fill with Desperate Housewives, Dancing With The Stars, Brothers and Sisters, EM:HE, Lost, Grey’s Anatomy and to a lesser extent Ugly Betty giving them any sort of traction. NBC’s got L&O:SVU, The Office and to a lesser extent L&O and 30 Rock bringing them anything decent ratings wise and FOX can only crow about House, Fringe, Idol, Simpsons, American Dad and Family Guy.
    Next fall we can expect to see a glutton of new series on these nets with maybe 1 or 2 shos to breakout per network.
    CBS is in a great place!

  • Lily

    I only watch HOUSE.
    I ADORE HUGH LAURIE!!
    AMAZING ACTOR!!
    SPOILS you for ANYTHING else.

  • Tenna

    I love the Mentalist and I’m excited to see that it’s doing so well! :D

  • Sharlin

    Wow, no top 20 hit for NBC? I don’t count football. No wonder they have to be desperate and give away 10pm to Leno, which is a lost cause anyway.

  • Anonymous

    It’s more than Simon Baker’s looks…it’s also his charm! He reminds me of Carey Grant. He smiles and I melt!

  • Brian

    Ouch Luisa, too bad Pushing Daisies got canned because it sucked…

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