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Andrew McCabe, franchise shows give CBS weekly ratings win

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fired FBI acting director Andrew McCabe's headline-making interview on CBS' news magazine proved a TV audience grabber as well. The program ranked as the third most-watched last week with 9.7 million people tuning in, according to Nielsen figures released Wednesday.

Viewership was down across the board during the Presidents Day holiday weekend, and the Sunday audience for "60 Minutes" didn't approach its season average of 11.6 million. But McCabe's memoir "The Threat," about the FBI and the Trump administration, topped Amazon's best-sellers list the day after the interview aired as part of a media blitz for the book.

He told "60 Minutes" that a "crime may have been committed" when President Donald Trump fired James Comey as FBI director in 2017 and tried to publicly undermine an investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia.

McCabe also said the FBI had good reason for a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump was in league with Russia, and therefore a possible national security threat. McCabe, fired from the Justice Department last year after an internal probe into a news media disclosure, denied he intentionally lied and said his firing was politically motivated.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment on the interview Sunday night. Trump has repeatedly shared his views, including in one tweet in which he called McCabe "disgraced" and said "now his story gets even more deranged."

CBS won the weekly network ratings contest as viewers also devoted time to the network's "NCIS" and "The Big Bang Theory" and their spinoffs, Nielsen said. With six of the top 10 shows and 13 of the most-watched 20, CBS had an average of 6.3 million weekly viewers. NBC had 5.2 million, ABC had 3.8 million, Fox had 3.6 million, Univision had 1.4 million, ION Television had 1.3 million, Telemundo had 1.3 million and the CW had 880,000.

Fox News Channel was the week's most-watched cable network, averaging 2.5 million viewers in prime time. TNT had 2.3 million, MSNBC had 1.9 million, ESPN had 1.4 million, HGTV had 1.35 million and History had 1.3 million.

ABC's "World News Tonight" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9.4 million viewers. NBC's "Nightly News" was second with 8.8 million, and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.7 million. For the week of Feb. 10-17, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "NCIS," CBS, 13.4 million; "America's Got Talent Champions," NBC, 10.5 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 9.7 million; "FBI," CBS, 9.5 million; "Blue Bloods," CBS, 8.9 million; "Chicago Med," NBC, 8.7 million; "Chicago Fire," NBC, 8.5 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 8.3 million; "The Masked Singer," Fox, 7.9 million; "Young Sheldon," CBS, 7.7 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 is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.

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