CBS Says New ‘Two And a Half Men’ Lifts Network to New Season Ratings Win

CBS, the most-watched U.S. television network, gained viewers in the new season’s second week on the strength of the retooled “Two and a Half Men,” now featuring Ashton Kutcher, and its mainstay dramas.

The network drew 3.1 percent more viewers last week than a year earlier and increased 1 percent in the 18-to-49-year-old audience, a group targeted by advertisers, according to data released today by Nielsen.

“Week two is when people decide if they’re going to stick with a new show,” David Poltrack, New York-based CBS’s chief research officer, said in an interview yesterday.

The CBS first-season drama “Person of Interest,” was the highest-rated new show, according to the network, with 12.5 million viewers in the second week. Among viewers ages 18 to 49, Poltrack said CBS has five of the top 10 shows: “Two and a Half Men,” “Big Bang Theory,” newcomer “Two Broke Girls,” “Mike & Molly” and “How I Met Your Mother.”

“Two and a Half Men” was the most-watched show for the second week, with 20.5 million viewers, a drop from 28.7 million last week, when Kutcher made his debut. The program was retooled with Kutcher in the lead Charlie Sheen criticized the producers and left the series. It should be considered a new show, Poltrack said. The network also has the most-watched drama in “NCIS.”

“Two and a Half Men” came in second in the 18-to-49-year- old demographic, behind NBC’s Sunday Night Football, according to Nielsen data. NBC is controlled by Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)

Fox Ratings

Two weeks into the TV season, News Corp.’s Fox is also drawing more total viewers, up 15 percent from a year earlier. Fox’s audience is up 11 percent in the 18-to-49-year-old demographic, according to Nielsen data.

“The X Factor,” starring former “American Idol” judges Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul, is lifting Los Angeles-based Fox, according to the network. For the week, Fox rose 3.7 percent in total viewers and fell 4.3 percent in 18-to-49, according to the latest Nielsen data.

Walt Disney Co. (DIS)’s ABC is down 1.2 percent in total viewers through week two, and is off 6.8 percent in the demographic group. NBC is down 11 percent in total audience and 12 percent in the 18-to-49-year-old group.

CBS Corp., controlled by Chairman Sumner Redstone, gained 4 cents to $18.99 at 1:11 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Before today, the shares were little changed this year.

News Corp. (NWSA), controlled by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rupert Murdoch, gained 15 cents to $15.16 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The Class A share had gained 3.1 percent before today.

To contact the reporters on this story: Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at afixmer@bloomberg.net; Edmund Lee in New York at elee310@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net; Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net

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