CBS last week completely swept Nielsen Research's top-ten ratings list as the summer season officially began. NCIS, the long-running CBS drama that has regularly posted strong ratings despite airing opposite Fox's American Idol on Tuesday nights, finally landed in first place. It drew 12.5 million viewers, edging out the 2008-09 season's only new hit, CBS's The Mentalist, which attracted 12.4 million. (A special Thursday edition of NCISalso landed in the top ten with 9.6 million viewers.) A country-music special, "George Strait: ACM Artist of the Decade," took third place, watched by 10.6 million viewers. Nevertheless, despite CBS's domination of the top-ten among viewers overall, Fox placed first among younger demographics, with its two editions of So You Think You Can Dance taking first and second place among adults 18-49.

{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:

1. NCIS, CBS, 8.1/13; 2. The Mentalist, CBS, 8/13; 3. "George Strait: Academy of Country Music Artist of the Year," CBS, 6.8/11; 4. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 6.7/11; 5. Without a Trace (Thursday), CBS, 6.6/12; 6. Without a Trace (Tuesday), CBS, 6.4/11; 7. NCIS (Thursday), CBS, 6.3/11; 8. 60 Minutes, CBS, 5.9/12; 9.Criminal Minds, CBS, 5.8/10; 10. Two and a Half Men, CBS, 5.7/9.


Conan O'Brien's debut as host of the Tonightshow posted a 7.1 rating and a 17 share Monday -- numbers that were higher than any show broadcast in primetime on that night, according to Nielsen Research. Indeed, there were more viewers for Tonightthan for CBS's Late Show With David Lettermanand ABC's Nightlinecombined. Nevertheless, the ratings were a substantial 19 percent lower than Leno's bow-out on Friday, which registered an 8.8/20. In its report on the transition, the Associated Press observed, "History suggests goodbyes draw more interest than hellos, even if Leno's exit is only temporary." Meanwhile, NBC announced that The Jay Leno Showwill debut on Monday, Sept. 14 at 10:00 p.m. The date was about a week earlier than expected. NBC said that the network wanted to use the season debut of Sunday Night Footballthe previous night, the season finale of America's Got Talentand the season debut of The Biggest Loserthat week to promote the new Leno variety show.


Raising new questions about ethical standards among celebrity journalists, it was reported Tuesday that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has been dating Lu Parker, a reporter and sometime anchor for KTLA, the Tribune-owned TV station in the city -- as well as a former Miss USA. The mayor declined to reply to questions concerning the alleged liaison, telling reporters that it was a private matter and that he doubted anyone would be interested in his private life. In the Los Angeles Times, media columnist James Rainey said that unlike Mirthala Salinas, who was a reporter for Spanish language Telemundo when Mayor Villaraigosa dated her, Parker "is not a political reporter. She doesn't cover politics generally." But Rainey pointed out that even so, "she could still encounter any number of stories -- school reform, the performance of the police department, expansion of the airport -- in which Villaraigosa has a stake." A KTLA insider told Rainey that Parker usually relies on scripts written by others. Rainey noted that KTLA made no mention of the matter on its newscast. Meanwhile, Larry King remarked during his CNN interview program Tuesday: "This may shock you. I am going to be appearing in Las Vegas at Steve Wynn's Encore Hotel on the night of Friday, June 19th. My wife Shawn will precede me with her songs and delightful patter. And I'm going to do an hour of comedy. Yes, the other side of Larry King."


In a stunning win for TiVo that propelled its stock 37 percent on Tuesday, a federal court ruled that Dish Network must pay TiVo $103 million in damages plus interest for infringing on TiVo's patents for its digital video recorder. Dish had lost an early patent-infringement case to TiVo, and while it appealed the case, modified the software for its DVRs. TiVo maintained that the new software also infringed on its patents. Dish said Tuesday that it will appeal the latest ruling. The lawyer argued that the site had spent $350,000 to honor 155,876 take-down requests and that it has also invested heavily in a content filter.


British "overnight sensation" Susan Boyle is expected to leave a London hospital soon. "Susan seems to be coming back to her old ways," her brother Gerry said on CBS's The Morning ShowTuesday. "She's fine. She's anxious to come home, and she's sounding a bit more like herself." Appearing on CNN's Larry King Live, Britain's Got Talentjudge Amanda Holden indicated her belief that the producers of the program were picking up her hospital bills. "I would imagine that they are," Holden told King. "We're a very loyal show. We love Susan very much ... So she is getting the best support she could possibly be getting at this time." (British newspapers reported that show producer and judge Simon Cowell was picking up the tab for her treatment.) Holden said she had no direct knowledge of the cause of Boyle's sudden breakdown. "I think she was just quite upset by all the exaggerated stories and falsehoods that were written about her," she told King. Meanwhile, it was announced that Diversity, the dance group that beat Boyle for the top prize on Britain's Got Talent, has already been signed to appear in a new 3D movie titled Street Dance. The BBC reported that the movie, which is scheduled to begin filming in August, is the first British film to be shot in 3D.


British television, one of the most reliable markets for U.S. television shows, is cutting back drastically on its spending abroad -- and BBC1 may not air a single U.S. TV series next season, BBC1 comptroller Jay Hunt told the British Broadcasting Press Guild on Tuesday. "It is very unlikely that we will show U.S. series in primetime." Hunt, however, hedged a bit later in her remarks, saying, "If something came along that, to be blunt, blew my socks off, I might change that, but part of what I'm proud of is our record in domestic production and I want to keep that being really strong." Hunt also disclosed that the publicly supported broadcaster is not prepared to launch a high-definition version of the channel, saying she's waiting for more HD sets to be bought and installed in homes.