Britney Clicks On CBS

If networks have questions about what will work when TV shows come back in full force next month, just talk to CBS. The net scored by putting Britney Spears in prime time.

Spears, guest-starring in CBS' "How I Met Your Mother," pushed the show to its season's best rating: a 4.5 rating/12 share among 18-49 viewers. Spears has already spread the wealth to TV outlets. When her marriage and crazy antics hit the tabloids, the ratings for syndication magazine shows soared.

CBS got some Spears spin this time. Along with a new episode of "Two and a Half Men"--which earned a 5.1/13 rating--and a new "CSI: Miami" episode, which took in a strong 4.8 number, CBS took a somewhat surprising Monday win. CBS averaged a 4.4 rating among adults 18-49 for the night.

All this bested what was thought to be ABC's night with a two-hour "Dancing with the Stars." The show, which has given ABC good fortune--especially on nights when it is not running against "American Idol"--took in its steady 5.2/13.

This wasn't ABC's only downfall. A sub-par "The Bachelor: London Calling" earned a slow 2.9/7, losing a good chunk of the lead-in viewers for "Dancing."

That landed ABC in second place, averaging a 4.2/11. NBC and Fox tied for a distant third at 2.4/6. NBC's best came from "Deal or No Deal" at 9 p.m. and "Medium" at 10 p.m. Each grabbed a 3.0/8. At 8 p.m., a new NBC reality show was barely noticed. "My Dad is Better than Your Dad" took a 1.2 rating.

Fox wasn't big on the night either--but it wasn't really trying that much. A "House" rerun earned a 2.7/7, while its new drama "New Amsterdam" continued to look like history--only a 2.0 rating. Univision was fifth at 1.7/4, and CW took sixth at 0.6/2.

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