CBS' "Big Brother" may be an old idea in television terms, but it's benefiting from some new twists in having a relatively strong summer season.
The network game that puts strangers in close quarters and films them is up 4 percent in viewers from last season, the Nielsen Co. said. Three of the 12 most-watched programs on broadcast TV last week were "Big Brother" editions.
Ratings have increased 12 percent over last year among viewers ages 18 to 49, Nielsen said. CBS said the 13th version of the show has been helped by social media engagement on Facebook and Twitter, which weren't around when the network first filled a "Big Brother" house.
Corporate sister Showtime II also runs an "After Dark" show on the "Big Brother" house at night, and viewership for that show is up 8 percent over last year. This year, the show's 14 houseguests included three couples who have been on past editions of "Big Brother," which gathers a group of people in a camera-filled house, with one contestant voted out by the others each week. The last contestant standing wins $500,000.
CBS won the week with an average of 5.6 million viewers in prime time (3.7 rating, 6 share). ABC had 4.8 million (3.1, 5), NBC had 4.7 million (3.0, 5), Fox had 2.8 million (1.8, 3), ION Television had 1 million (0.7, 1) and the CW had 770,000 (0.5, 1).
Among the Spanish-language networks, Univisiion led with an average of 3.8 million viewers (2.0 rating, 3 share), Telemundo had 1 million (0.6, 1), TeleFutura had 410,000 (0.2, 0), Azteca had 200,000 and Estrella 180,000 (both 0.1, 0).
NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 7.9 million viewers (5.3, 11). ABC's "World News" was second with 7.2 million (4.9, 10), and the "CBS Evening News" had 5.9 million viewers (4, 8).
A ratings point represents 1,147,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 114.7 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.
For the week of Aug. 29-Sept. 4, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "America's Got Talent" (Tuesday), NBC, 11.14 million; "America's Got Talent" (Wednesday), NBC, 10.65 million; "NCIS," CBS, 8.94 million; "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 8.64 million; "Big Brother 13" (Wednesday), CBS, 8.34 million; NCAA Football: Oregon vs. LSU, ABC, 7.75 million; "NCIS" (Tuesday, 10 p.m.), CBS, 7.29 million; "Big Brother 13" (Sunday), CBS, 6.66 million; "Bachelor Pad," ABC, 6.48 million; "Big Brother 13" (Thursday), CBS, 6.25 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox and My Network TV are units of News Corp. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks. TeleFutura is a division of Univision. Azteca America is a wholly owned subsidiary of TV Azteca S.A. de C.V.