NEW YORK -- Two popular reality shows made a splash upon their re-entry during the past week -- and a new one had a strong debut.

A new episode of "Dancing With the Stars" premiered on ABC last week before 17 million viewers, just behind CBS drama "NCIS" as the week's most popular program.

"The Voice," with Usher and Shakira as new cast members, premiered its spring season before 13.6 million on Monday, the Nielsen company said. Those are welcome numbers for NBC, which has been starved for viewers.

There's also likely to be a healthy rivalry with Fox's "American Idol" for the rest of the TV season. "Idol" reached 12.9 million viewers last Wednesday and 11.9 million viewers for its Thursday edition. Fox points out that when "Idol" debuted its new season in January, it did so with nearly 18 million viewers, far more than "The Voice."

NBC is encouraged by the relatively youthful appeal of its show. An estimated 6.1 million viewers of "The Voice" on Monday were in the 18-to-49-year-old demographic that advertisers seek. "Idol" last Wednesday had 4.5 million young viewers.

ABC's new series "Splash," with celebrities like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Louie Anderson and Keshia Knight Pulliam displaying their diving prowess, reached just over 9 million viewers with its first episode last week. That was more than all but two of the network's scripted series last week.


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In the week's ultimate reality show -- the frenetic first week of the NCAA men's basketball tournament -- Nielsen said viewership on CBS and its partner networks was up 9 percent over last year.

For the week in prime time, CBS averaged 8.5 million viewers. ABC was second with 7.5 million, Fox had 5.9 million (3.6, 6), NBC had 4.2 million.

For the week of March 18-24, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships (in millions):

1. "NCIS" (CBS), 19.7.

2. "Dancing With the Stars" (ABC), 17.0.

3. "NCIS: Los Angeles" (CBS), 16.8.

4. "American Idol" (Wednesday) (Fox), 12.9.

5. "American Idol" (Thursday) (Fox), 11.9.

6. "Criminal Minds" (CBS), 11.5.

7. "Castle" (ABC), 11.2.

8. "The Walking Dead" (AMC), 10.9.

9. "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS), 10.53.

10. "60 Minutes" (CBS), 10.5.

CBS renews 18 prime-time shows

NEW YORK -- There's little suspense ahead for CBS viewers: The nation's most popular broadcaster said that it has renewed 18 of its prime-time series for next season.

The long-running comedy "Two and a Half Men" was not on the list, but CBS said it's discussing another season with the show's production company, Warner Bros. Television.

The renewals include news shows "60 Minutes" and "48 Hours" and reality shows "Survivor," "The Amazing Race" and "Undercover Boss."

Dramas back on the schedule next fall are the top-rated "NCIS" and its spinoff, "NCIS: Los Angeles." Other returning shows are "Elementary," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "Person of Interest," "Hawaii Five-0," "The Mentalist," "Blue Bloods" and "The Good Wife." Renewed comedies are "The Big Bang Theory," "How I Met Your Mother," "2 Broke Girls" and "Mike & Molly."

"How I Met Your Mother" will have its final season and, presumably, answer the mystery of who the mother actually is.

Shows still on the bubble are "CSI: NY," "Vegas," "Golden Boy" and "Rules of Engagement."