CBS’ ‘Big Brother’ Gaining In Viewers

CBS is nearing summer’s end as the only major broadcaster with more viewers than last summer, helped in part by a revived “Big Brother” franchise. Three separate prime-time “Big Brother” episodes were among Nielsen Media Research’s 25 most-watched programs last week. The series that throws a group of strangers together in a house and films their every move is in its 11th edition, and viewership is up 7 percent from last year.

That defies traditional TV gravity; it’s rare that a long-running program would show growth. The series mined the latest reality TV star known more for bad behavior than anything else: Chima Simone was kicked off for disobeying producers’ orders to put on a microphone, then throwing the microphone in a spa. She also apologized for calling a cast member of Lebanese descent a terrorist.

CBS viewership is up 5 percent over last summer, Nielsen said. No wonder that, with a week to go for this season’s “Big Brother,” CBS on Wednesday announced that a 12th edition of the series will be broadcast in summer 2010.

NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” topped the ratings last week, for both its Tuesday and Wednesday editions. ABC, which has generally had a wipeout of a summer, had a stronger week than usual with a country music special and Saturday night college football game.


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