CBS Gets Special Boost In Latest Week

  • by November 14, 2001
A pair of specials teamed with some red-hot series last week to lift CBS to a victory in total viewers and its most competitive finish of the season among key demographics.

NBC still prevailed in the closely watched adults 18-49 race -- for the sixth time in seven weeks this season -- but CBS and Fox both were just 1 share behind.

According to Nielsen Media Research, CBS averaged a season-best 14.4 million viewers in the Nov. 5-11 week, finished just a tick behind NBC for the lead in its target demo of adults 25-54 (5.6 rating, 13 share vs. 5.7/13) and won in women 25-54. This marks CBS' strongest competitive showing in adults 25-54 since winning in early May (conclusion of "Survivor: The Australian Outback").

Leading the way was fast-rising drama "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," which hit another high Thursday (25.1 million viewers) and finished second to only "ER" (26.85 million) for the week. It was the biggest turnout for a CBS drama since "Touched by an Angel" in January 1998.

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Four other CBS series placed in the top 15 (including "Everybody Loves Raymond" at No. 4 and "Survivor: Africa" at No. 5); they were joined by "The 35th Annual Country Music Assn. Awards" at No. 11 and the "I Love Lucy 50th Anniversary" special at No. 13.

CBS' "Touched by an Angel," "The District" and "The Agency" also achieved some season peaks, but it was another valley for Sunday rookie "The Education of Max Bickford."

Fox had a great week, boosted by the return of its Sunday lineup and an improved Thursday. The network, which remains the November sweeps leader in all categories, won the week in male demos as well as adults 18-34.

Four of Fox's comedies (Sunday's "The Simpsons" and "Malcolm in the Middle" and Tuesday's "That '70s Show" and "Simpsons" special) were among the week's top 15 in 18-49.

Its much-hyped drama "24" got off to an unspectacular start Tuesday opposite the season premiere of ABC's "NYPD Blue," but received strong additional tune-in with a Friday repeat.

NBC's first-place finish in adults 18-49 was again paced by Thursday bookends "ER" (13.1/33) and "Friends" (12.1/30) -- one of which has been the top entertainment series in the demo every week this season.

NBC's other Thursday comedies "Will & Grace" and "Just Shoot Me" also finished in the top 15 in 18-49, as did Wednesday dramas "The West Wing" and "Law & Order."

ABC remained fourth in 18-49 but earned its strongest weekly averages since premiere week. "NYPD Blue" did well in its two-hour return (15.81 million viewers), Sunday's broadcast premiere of "Saving Private Ryan" drew the biggest audience for a theatrical in two years (17.87 million) and "Monday Night Football" was the week's top show in men 18-49 (10.1/27).

At the "weblets," UPN posted its best numbers in five weeks, boosted in part by strong performances from Monday comedies "The Hughleys," "One on One," "The Parkers" and "Girlfriends."

The WB, meanwhile, still has a few holes on its schedule to plug but its top series are flourishing. The network was led by a trio of dramas that topped the 6 million viewer mark -- "7th Heaven," "Smallville" and "Gilmore Girls" -- and Friday comedy "Reba," which topped 5 million.

SUNDAY

"Saving Private Ryan" on ABC, an "I Love Lucy 50th Anniversary" special on CBS and comedies on Fox all did well, with ABC winning the night in total viewers and Fox among all under-50 demos.

The week's two top cable programs aired on the night: ESPN's "Sunday Night NFL" (7.97 million, 3.4/8 in adults 18-49) and TBS' premiere of "Lethal Weapon 4" (5.15 million, 2.4/7).

The WB is barely a ratings blip on the night, but its "Nikki" (2.91 million, 1.2/3 in 18-49) continues to perform relatively well in its second season, hitting season highs.

SATURDAY

CBS dominated with season bests in adults 18-49 (3.2/10) and 25-54 (4.4/12). "Touched by an Angel" (10.72 million, 2.9/10 in adults 18-49) and "The District" (13.71 million, 3.6/11) hit season highs and a repeat "CSI" heated things up at 9 (10.79 million, 3.2/10).

Fox's reality lineup, preempted for four weeks by baseball, was second, led by the 8:30 "Cops" (7.54 million, 2.9/9).

ABC again won the movie battle with "Mission: Impossible" (6.64 million, 2.8/8 in 18-49), but HBO's "Men of Honor" (4.33 million, 2.0/6) also did well, matching the demo score of NBC's "Shakespeare in Love" premiere (5.33 million, 2.0/6).

FRIDAY

NBC won the night once again, with 10 p.m.'s "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (16.20 million, 5.5/17 in 18-49) making it a runaway, while Fox's "Dark Angel" hit a season high in 18-49 (3.5/12) and a repeat of "24" (3.4/10 in the demo) looked strong at 9 p.m.

Elsewhere, newsmagazines on ABC ("America.01," 6.43 million) and CBS ("48 Hours," 7.71 million) performed poorly, "Maybe It's Me" and "Reba" anchored the WB's burgeoning comedy block, and CBS' "The Ellen Show" (6.87 million, 2.5/8 in 18-49) hit Friday highs airing behind a strong "Funny Flubs" special (8.52 million, 2.9/10).

THURSDAY

NBC won the night again, but CBS closed the gap behind best-yet numbers for "CSI" (25.10 million, 9.3/21 in 18-49), a season high in 18-49 for "The Agency" (4.5/11) and best-since-premiere scores for "Survivor: Africa" (20.55 million, 8.3/20).

"Friends" (24.24 million, 12.1/30 in 18-49) fell to a season low but was still about 10% ahead of last year's pace.

The new lineup of "Family Guy," "The Tick" and "Temptation Island 2" improved Fox's fortunes on the night as it moved up to third in 18-49 (3.3/8).

WEDNESDAY

The "Country Music Assn. Aards" gave CBS its first Wednesday victory of the season in total viewers (17.8 million), topping the trio of dramas on NBC (16.5 million).

UPN's "Enterprise" (7.36 million, 3.9/10) held up well, again winning in male demos, while the WB combo of "Dawson's Creek" (3.77 million) and "Felicity" (2.79 million) was down 25% year-to-year.

TUESDAY

Thye premiere of Fox's "24" (11.64 million, 5.4/13 in 18-49) came up short opposite the two-hour season bow of ABC's "NYPD Blue" (15.81 million, 6.2/15) but Fox still won the night in viewers under 50 behind big comedy scores from "That '70s Show" (12.43 million, 6.9/18) and "The Simpsons" (13.04 million, 7.0/17).

The WB's "Gilmore Girls" and "Smallville" each hit some new highs, again topping UPN's combo of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Roswell."

MONDAY

ABC won Nov. 5 as "Monday Night Football" (17.65 million, 7.5/20 in 18-49 for Denver-Oakland) delivered its best numbers in seven weeks.

-- Reuters/Variety

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