What if CSI wasn't CSI?
Last week, the CBS crime show was what it's been for most of this decade: TV's most-watched drama series.
But what if, suddenly, 21 million viewers, as top hit CSI is averaging for the season, became 13 million?
Then a new AOL Television poll will have been right on the money.
In the poll, 37 percent of respondents said they won't watch CSI after William Petersen exits at midseason.
About 41 percent effectively put the series on probation, saying "maybe" they'll keep tuning in, post-Grissom—it all "depends on how good [Petersen sub] Laurence Fishburne is."
Elsewhere, Lipstick Jungle's numbers are in the spin cycle, plus nine other lessons from the latest Nielsen rankings and stats...
1. NBC will do anything for Lipstick Jungle, except as E! News reported, order new episodes. The network's hyping Lipstick's pull among DVR users, noting that the show is boosting its 18-49 audience by a broadcast network-high 27 percent once a week's worth of playback is added in. The bad news is 27 percent more of not a whole lot isn't a whole lot. The latest episode was watched, live, by only 3.7 million overall.
2. Ratings are overrated. Gary Unmarried (6.6 million, low for a CBS show) and Privileged (1.9 million, low for a CW show) both got new episode orders. You know, unlike Lipstick Jungle.
3. CSI should inquire about Barack Obama. Per the revised, final numbers, the Obama 60 Minutes (25.1 million) pulled the biggest prime-time commercial audience of the season.
4. Yes, things can get worse for NBC's My Own Worst Enemy. It hit a season-low 4 million last night, per estimates.
5. November sweeps stunts still work. CBS' spouse-offing Ghost Whisperer (11.6 million) hit a two year-plus high.
6. If Fox's Bones (season-high 10.9 million) is a cult show, then its cult is growing—with viewership up 14 percent from last fall, the network said.
7. The women-lite from The Hills are not the biggest dummies on TV. That honor belongs to the friends of ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, whose Comedy Central special, Very Special Christmas Special (6.6 million), was cable's top entertainment show.
8. The iCarly movie, iGo to Japan, might just be Nick's High School Musical. The show repeated six times last week, scoring more than 4 million viewers three times.
9. Hannah Montana isn't dead, either. The Disney Channel comedy (4.6 million) was cable's top series. It was followed by new episodes of Disney's The Suite Life on Deck (4.5 million) and Nick's short-form iCarly (4.1 million).
10. In the tradition of daytime soap characters, the daytime soap has come back to life. NBC's Days of Our Lives (a middling 2.7 million, for the week of Nov. 3-7) has been picked up through September 2010, and maybe September 2011.
Here's a rundown of the most-watched broadcast network prime-time shows for the week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen Media Research:
- 60 Minutes, CBS, 25.1 million viewers
- Sunday Night Football (Dallas at Washington), NBC, 19.3 million viewers
- CSI, CBS, 19.1 million viewers
- NCIS, CBS, 18.7 million viewers
- Dancing With the Stars (Monday), ABC, 18.7 million viewers
- Desperate Housewives, ABC, 16.8 million viewers
- Dancing With the Stars (Tuesday), ABC, 16.521 million viewers
- The Mentalist, CBS, 16.52 milion viewers
- 42nd Annual Country Music Association Awards, ABC, 15.9 million viewers
- Grey's Anatomy, ABC, 14.9 million viewers