Britney Spears Gives CBS a Boost With 'Mother'

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.

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