NEW YORK - 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.