What they don't want to see, of course, is a tie.
These are the lessons learned from last week's Nielsen ratings, in which NBC scored a top 10 finish with its stunt game show Dog Eat Dog and CBS grabbed viewers for the debut of Big Brother 3, while Fox suffered record low ratings for a Major League All-Star game that ended in a 7-7 tie.
Yes, Tuesday night's American League-National League battle was the most-watched event of the week, drawing 14.7 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. But that audience was down 8 percent from last year, and it was the lowest-rated midsummer classic since 1953.
Meanwhile, a handful of new summer shows nabbed decent ratings for the week ended Sunday: NBC's Dog Eat Dog, which can only be described as an adult version of Double Dare with contestants sometimes stripping off their clothing to avoid elimination, pulled in a healthy 10.1 million viewers Monday night (falling just behind CBS' Everybody Loves Raymond and ABC's The Horse Whisperer).
Then on Wednesday night, CBS managed to outshine Fox's pop-star series American Idol with the debut of Big Brother 3 (it's baaaack). Brother, featuring a whole new cast of people you'd never want to be locked in a house with, pulled in 9.2 million viewers, besting Idol's 9 million. (By Thursday, however, the audience dropped to 7.6 million viewers, and Saturday brought just 5.3 million--but that was still enough to win the time period).
All told, CBS scored a first-place finish for the week, averaging 7.7 million viewers thanks in part to the continuing success of CSI, which, even with a rerun, scored 13 million viewers and was the top-rated series of the week. NBC settled for second place with 7.6 million viewers, followed by Fox with 7.2 million.
While Fox was boosted by its baseball coverage, the network isn't doing so hot with its attempts at creating a newsmagazine. The latest, Pulse, barely registered one on Thursday night, averaging 4.8 million viewers.
Rounding out the rankings, ABC finished the week in fourth place with 6.2 million viewers. Among the junior nets, UPN topped the WB last week among total viewers (2.6 million vs. 2.3 million).
Here's a rundown of the week's top 10 most-watched shows, according to Nielsen:
1. Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Fox, 14.7 million viewers
2. CSI, CBS, 13 million
3. All-Star Game Pregame, Fox, 12.4 million
4. Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS, 11.6 million
5. Law & Order, NBC, 11.3 million
6. Monday Night Movie: The Horse Whisperer, ABC, 10.9 million
7. 60 Minutes, CBS, 10.8 million
8. 48 Hours (Monday), CBS, 10.2 million
9. Becker, CBS, 10.2 million
10. Dog Eat Dog, NBC, 10.1 million