HOLLYWOOD -- Britney Spears' charming and seemingly sane star turn on "How I Met Your Mother" on Monday helped CBS win the night in the key 18-to-49 demographic.
It was "How I Met Your Mother's" highest rating ever in that all-important age group.
Spears' guest appearance as a dorky receptionist who develops a crush on Ted made the difference in CBS's night, ratings-wise. The previous week, the season premiere of "Dancing With the Stars" helped ABC easily beat all the other networks among young adults.
Monday, though, "How I Met Your Mother" drew 10.6 million total viewers. (It usually averages 7.78 million.)
That boost combined with other CBS offerings -- "The Big Bang Theory," "Two and a Half Men," "The New Adventures of Old Christine" and the first new post-strike episode of "CSI: Miami" -- to deliver a slim margin of victory to CBS in the 18-to-49 age group.
Still, "Dancing With the Stars" ran away with the night in total viewers, bringing in an audience of 20.3 million for its two-hour episode.