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CBS wins February sweeps in demo, first time in 15 years

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While NBC is enduring a record-setting ratings low for February sweeps, rival CBS is celebrating a benchmark victory.

CBS will easily win the key ratings measurement period among the valuable adults 18-49 demographic for the first time in 15 years. The network will also win among total viewers by a wide margin (though that prize is pretty common for the broadcaster, which is often teased about its legions of older fans).

Airing the Super Bowl helped. TV’s biggest event delivered 108 million viewers and a 39.7 rating. But the big game is rotated among three networks (the others are Fox and NBC) and CBS has aired the championship four times since 1998 without winning February sweeps in the demo. So just because a network has the Super Bowl doesn’t mean it will automatically top the rankings. The last time CBS won February sweeps the network was boosted by its coverage of the Winter Olympics.

CBS also had its annual telecast of the Grammy Awards. Plus, the network had eight of the top 10 scripted broadcasts during the sweeps period, led by four airings of Thursday sitcom sensation The Big Bang Theory, two of its lead-out Two and a Half Men and one episode of Monday hit How I Met Your Mother.

Here’s the top 10 primetime broadcast programs in February, so far, among adults 18-49 (CBS shows in red):

1.      SUPER BOWL XLVII                                              39.7/77

2.      SUPER BOWL XLVII-DELAY                               38.9/73

3.      SUPER BOWL XLVII PST-GAME                         25.1 /55

4.      THE OSCARS                                                           13.0/31

5.      GRAMMY AWARDS                                               10.1/25

6.      OSCARS RED CARPET                                            7.3/20

7.      THE BIG BANG THEORY                                        6.2/18

8.      THE BIG BANG THEORY                                        5.6/17

9.      THE BIG BANG THEORY                                        5.5/18

10.   THE BIG BANG THEORY                                        5.4/16

The network ranking for the sweeps period compared to last year:

ADULTS 18-49 (2013 vs. 2012)

CBS    4.3/12  #1        2.8/07  #2        +54%

ABC    2.2/06  #2        2.3/06  #4        -4%

FOX    2.0/06  #3        2.4/07  #3        -17%

NBC    1.2/03  #4        3.6/10  #1        -67%

TOTAL VIEWERS (Millions) (2013 vs. 2012)

CBS    15.46   #1        11.42   #1        +35%

ABC    7.32     #2        7.39     #3        -1%

FOX    6.10     #3        7.05     #4        -13%

NBC    3.96     #4        10.26   #2        -61%