Broadcast Race Tightens, Fox Leads

New-GirlNow five weeks into the new season Fox is still on top among the key viewers advertisers want most -- but the race is much tighter.

Fox is at a Nielsen average 2.9 rating among the 18-49 demographic to CBS' 2.8 rating. In specific viewer numbers, Fox is averaging 3.75 million 18-49 viewers in prime time to CBS' 3.60 million.

NBC and ABC come next with a 2.4 average rating among 18-49 viewers. But in specific 18-49 viewer numbers, NBC is slightly ahead: 3.12 million versus 3.07 million. While critics note that NBC still suffers with most of its prime-time programming, it has been "Sunday Night Football," factored into these numbers, that keeps it in the running.

CW is next with a 0.8 average 18-49 rating. That comes to a 969,000 average number of 18-49 viewers.

For Fox, much of its credit this fall goes to two new shows, "New Girl" -- averaging a 4.5 rating after five weeks among 18-49 viewers -- and "The X Factor," averaging a 4.2 rating for its Wednesday performance telecast and a 4.0 for its results show. The downside for Fox is that it promised around a 6 rating or more to advertisers for the highly touted "Factor."

CBS has seen strong results from Monday comedies -- new and old. A renewed "Two and a Half Men" is averaging a 7.1 rating after five weeks (although dropping in recent weeks); "2 Broke Girls" is earning a 5.0 rating; and higher results from its Thursday show "The Big Bang Theory," with a 4.8 number.

Although ABC has had a slow start so far this season -- with older shows "Dancing with the Stars," "Desperate Housewives" and "Grey's Anatomy" drifting lower -- "Modern Family" is still going strong, at a 5.8 rating.  New sitcom "Suburgatory" after four episodes is averaging a 3.2 rating among 18-49 viewers.

NBC is earning a 7.4 number on average after five weeks of "Sunday Night Football." But after that, it is a long way down to its second-highest-rated show "The Office" at a 3.1 rating. "The Biggest Loser" has been a key NBC show and is off to a slow start.

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