A business dispute that has taken CBS off the air in portions of Dallas, Los Angeles and New York has done little to put a dent in the network's ratings dominance.
CBS was easily the nation's most popular network last week, the Nielsen ratings company said. The miniseries "Under the Dome" continued its dominance, and all three episodes of "Big Brother" finished among the 12 most-watched programs.
The Time Warner cable system began blacking out CBS in the three cities on Aug. 2. The companies are fighting over how much money Time Warner Inc. will pay for CBS Corp. programming, and negotiations continued Tuesday.
The blackout means some 1.1 million of New York's 7.4 million television households don't get CBS. An estimated 1.3 million of 5.6 million households in Los Angeles are blacked out, along with 400,000 of Dallas' 2.6 million TV homes, CBS said. Those are three of the nation's five most populous television markets.
CBS estimates the blackout cuts the network's national viewership by about 1 percent. The damage is lessened by CBS' success this summer. In fact, since Memorial Day the prime-time viewership in Dallas, Los Angeles and New York, even figuring in the blackout, is up 10 percent over last year, when NBC's Olympics coverage depressed viewing at its rival networks.
The week's biggest ratings story was AMC's "Breaking Bad," which drew 5.9 million viewers, its biggest audience ever, for the first of the show's final eight episodes.
CBS averaged 5.5 million viewers in prime time. NBC, at 4.18 million, and ABC, at 4.17 million, finished in a virtual tie. Univision had 3 million viewers, Fox had 2.6 million, ION Television had 1.4 million, Telemundo had 1.3 million and the CW had 940,000.
The Disney Channel was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.74 million viewers in prime time. USA had 2.68 million viewers, History had 2.2 million, Discovery had 2.1 million and Turner's networks finished in a near tie: TNT at 1.764 million and TBS at 1.762 million.
NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 7.6 million viewers, seemingly suffering no ill effects from Brian Williams' absence for knee surgery. ABC's "World News" was second with 7.1 million, and the "CBS Evening News" had 5.7 million viewers.
For the week of Aug. 5-11, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "Under the Dome," CBS, 10.42 million; "America's Got Talent" (Wednesday, 9 p.m.), NBC, 10.26 million; "America's Got Talent" (Tuesday), NBC, 9.39 million; "The Bachelorette," ABC, 8.94 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 8.62 million; "The Bachelorette: After the Rose," ABC, 8.31 million; "NCIS," CBS, 7.96 million; "Big Brother 15" (Sunday), CBS, 7.14 million; "Unforgettable," CBS, 6.88 million; "Big Brother 15" (Thursday), CBS, 6.61 million.