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NBC takes 18-49s
but CBS wins viewers

As sweeps and season end, CBS pulls off a comeback 

By Diego Vasquez

   NBC could almost taste the sweeps wins across all the major demos, including households and total viewers, which CBS has owned. 
   But as quickly as the network built a household and total viewers lead with the “Friends” and Frasier” finales and the surprise hit miniseries “10.5,” CBS fought its way back to pull even through last Friday with strong showings by late-season editions of its staples “CSI” and “Survivor.”
   While NBC still has a comfortable lead in the all-important 18-49 demo for the May sweeps period, CBS had another strong week in households and total viewers last week and it looks like it will win yet another sweeps in those two demos.
   Yesterday CBS president Les Moonves also claimed the season-long title among households and total viewers while NBC's Jeff Zucker proclaimed his network a winner among 18-49s. Both had a substantial lead heading into this final week of the season.
   CBS will more than double its total viewers advantage over NBC for the season, averaging about 2 million. The two will tie among 25-54s for the first time in more than 20 years.
   CBS has looked like a seasoned distance runner, posting an 8.0 average rating in households last week, up from the previous week’s 7.8, although down from an 8.4 two weeks ago that included the very important "Survivor" season finale. 
  By contrast, NBC began to look more like a sprinter out of gas, posting a 6.3 in households last week, down from a 7.6 the previous week and a 9.5 two weeks ago.
   NBC actually finished behind Fox in households and total viewers last week.
   Ironically, while NBC does hold the big lead in 18-49s, it was the lack of big ratings in that demo last week that may have killed its hopes for a win in households and total viewers.
   Fox stole the most viewers, with the two top shows in 18-49s last week. “American Idol’s” Tuesday competition posted a 10.0 average rating and the Wednesday results edition brought a 9.8.
   CBS had the next two most-watched shows in the demo—“CSI: Miami,” which set up the forthcoming “CSI: New York” posted a 9.0, and just plain old “CSI” averaged an 8.8.
   For the week Fox finished on top with a 4.4 average in 18-49s while CBS and NBC tied at 3.4. NBC was particularly uncharacteristic last week, placing only two shows—and no comedies—in the top 12 (“Law & Order: SVU” finished No. 5, “Law & Order” No.7).
   So the same strategy that had the network giddy as it led all demos a couple weeks ago—placing key comedy finales early in the month and depending on dramas late—will likely have NBC looking up at CBS in households and total viewers on Thursday morning.
   

PRIMETIME AVERAGES BY NETWORK
Ranked on Households
Week Ending May 23

Network

Households

People 2+

Adults 18-49

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

CBS

8.0

8700

14

4.4

12140

12

3.4

4380

10

FOX

6.4

6920

11

3.7

10130

10

4.4

5600

13

NBC

6.3

6860

11

3.5

9550

10

3.4

4410

10

ABC

5.5

5980

9

3.1

8460

8

3.1

4020

9

WB

2.5

2730

4

1.3

3720

4

1.7

2130

5

UPN

1.9

2010

3

1.0

2720

3

1.0

1350

3

PAX

0.5

590

1

0.3

780

1

0.2

210

0

* Each rating point is equivalent to 1.084 million homes
Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

SEASON-TO-DATE PRIMETIME AVERAGES BY NETWORK
Ranked on Households
Week Ending May 23

Network

Households

People 2+

Adults 18-49

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

Rtg%

(000)

Shr

CBS

8.4

9150

14

4.7

13090

12

3.9

5010

11

NBC

7.3

7900

12

4.0

11040

10

4.3

5490

12

FOX

6.0

6520

10

3.5

9630

9

4.0

5160

11

ABC

5.9

6370

10

3.3

9000

9

3.3

4190

9

WB

2.5

2660

4

1.3

3650

3

1.5

1900

4

UPN

2.3

2480

4

1.2

3380

3

1.4

1770

4

PAX

0.7

710

1

0.4

980

1

0.2

290

1

* Each rating point is equivalent to 1.084 million homes
Source: Nielsen Media Research 

NETWORK TV
Ranked on Households
Week Ending May 23

#

PROGRAMS

Net

HOUSEHOLDS

PERSONS 2+

Rtg%

Shr

(000)

#

Rtg%

(000)

1

CSI

CBS

16.2

26

17512

1

9.2

25401

2

CSI: MIAMI

CBS

14.7

24

15979

3

8.4

23077

3

AMERICAN IDOL
TUESDAY

FOX

14.3

23

15472

2

8.6

23612

4

AMERICAN IDOL
WEDNESDAY

FOX

13.3

20

14371

4

8.1

22415

5

WITHOUT A TRACE

CBS

12.9

22

14029

5

7.1

19616

6

LAW AND ORDER

NBC

12.8

20

13877

5

7.1

19459

7

LAW AND ORDER:SVU

NBC

12.2

20

13277

7

6.7

18361

8

EVERYBODY 
LOVES RAYMOND

CBS

10.5

16

11379

8

5.8

16066

9

TWO AND A HALF MEN

CBS

9.9

15

10751

9

5.5

15202

10

LAW & ORDER
SVU 5/18(S)

NBC

9.8

15

10599

10

5.3

14670

11

COLD CASE

CBS

9.4

16

10154

10

5.3

14527

12

CSI SPECIAL(S)

CBS

9.3

17

10114

12

5.1

14104

13

BACHELOR, THE

ABC

8.8

14

9508

15

4.7

13067

14

CROSSING JORDAN

NBC

8.7

14

9410

15

4.7

12942

15

CBS SUNDAY MOVIE

CBS

8.5

13

9170

19

4.6

12779

16

LAW AND ORDER:
CRIM INTENT

NBC

8.3

13

8973

15

4.7

13036

17

JUDGING AMY

CBS

8.2

13

8889

24

4.1

11309

18

THAT '70S SHOW
FINALE SPL(S)

FOX

8.1

13

8815

13

4.9

13473

19

CSI: MIAMI -
SPECIAL(S)

CBS

8.0

14

8642

20

4.5

12303

19

LAS VEGAS

NBC

8.0

12

8685

15

4.7

12905

21

60 MINUTES

CBS

7.9

15

8565

22

4.2

11690

22

EXTREME
MAKEOVER:HOME ED.

ABC

7.3

12

7939

14

4.8

13203

22

JAG

CBS

7.3

13

7884

22

4.2

11535

24

AMERICAN IDOL:
FINAL 3(S)

FOX

7.1

12

7706

27

3.9

10777

24

WEST WING

NBC

7.1

11

7716

25

4.0

11031

Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

TOP 30 PROGRAMS - BROADCAST AND CABLE
Adults 18-49
Week Ending May 23

Rank

Program

Net

Rtg%

In Millions

1

AMERICAN IDOL – TUESDAY

FOX

10.0

12.83

2

AMERICAN IDOL – WEDNESDAY

FOX

9.8

12.57

3

CSI: MIAMI

CBS

9.0

11.56

4

CSI

CBS

8.8

11.34

5

LAW & ORDER: SVU

NBC

7.4

9.57

6

THAT 70’S SHOW FINALE

FOX

6.7

8.60

7

LAW & ORDER

NBC

6.5

8.36

8

WITHOUT A TRACE

CBS

6.3

8.10

9

THE BACHELOR

ABC

6.0

7.73

10

TWO AND A HALF MEN

CBS

5.7

7.34

10

EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND

CBS

5.7

7.30

12

EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOME ED.

ABC

5.3

6.80

13

LAW & ORDER: SVU 5/18

NBC

5.2

6.73

13

LAS VEGAS

NBC

5.2

6.65

15

FEAR FACTOR

NBC

5.1

6.53

15

24

FOX

5.1

6.60

17

THAT 70’S SHOW

FOX

4.9

6.27

18

CROSSING JORDAN

NBC

4.8

6.18

19

THE SWAN

FOX

4.4

5.62

19

THE SIMPSONS

FOX

4.4

5.70

21

LAW & ORDER: CI

NBC

4.3

5.51

22

ACCORDING TO JIM 9 P.M.

ABC

4.2

5.41

22

AMERICAN IDOL: FINAL 3

FOX

4.2

5.41

24

CSI SPECIAL

CBS

4.1

5.34

25

ALIAS

ABC

3.7

4.70

25

MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE

FOX

3.7

4.82

25

AMERICAN IDOL: PHENOMENON

FOX

3.7

4.78

25

CSI: MIAMI – SPECIAL

CBS

3.7

4.77

29

LESS THAN PERFECT

ABC

3.6

4.62

29

LAW & ORDER: CI 5/20

NBC

3.6

4.63

Source: ABC Networks, based on data from Nielsen Media Research

 

CABLE TV
Ranked on Households
Week Ending May 16

BASIC CABLE

#

PROGRAM NAME

NET

Households 

Persons 2+

(000)

Rtg %

(000)

1

NBA PLAYOFFS
(LAKERS/TIMBERWOLVES)

TNT

5661

5.2

8163

2

NBA PLAYOFFS
(LAKERS/TIMBERWOLVES)

TNT

4903

4.5

7034

3

NBA PLAYOFFS
(KINGS/TIMBERWOLVES)

TNT

4755

4.4

6344

4

WWE ENTERTAINMENT
 (WWE RAW ZONE)

SPIKE

3853

3.6

5288

5

FAIRLY ODD PARENTS

NICK

3492

3.2

4753

6

RW/RR CHALLENGE: INFERNO

MTV

3464

3.2

4461

7

SPONGEBOB

NICK

3228

3.0

4499

8

WWE ENTERTAINMENT
(WWE RAW)

SPIKE

3142

2.9

4240

9

REAL WORLD XIV

MTV

3063

2.8

4228

10

NEXTEL CUP RACE 
(NEXTEL ALL STAR- CHARLTTE)

FX

2987

2.8

4799

11

FAIRLY ODD PARENTS

NICK

2942

2.7

3826

12

NBA PLAYOFFS-CONF SEMIS L
(NETS/PISTONS)

ESPN

2863

2.6

3817

13

SPONGEBOB

NICK

2854

2.6

3575

14

FAIRLY ODD PARENTS

NICK

2836

2.6

3355

15

SPONGEBOB

NICK

2809

2.6

3726

PAY CABLE

#

PROGRAM NAME

NET

Households 

Persons 2+

(000)

Rtg %

(000)

1

SOPRANOS, THE

HBO

6009

5.5

9532

2

DEADWOOD

HBO

2912

2.7

4349

3

WCB: 5/22/04 
(JONES JR. VS. TARVER)

HBO

1976

1.8

2709

4

WCB: 5/22/04 (PRE 2)

HBO

1786

1.6

2347

5

WCB: 5/22/04 (MAYWEATHER
VS. CORLEY)

HBO

1650

1.5

2160

* Each rating point is equivalent to  108.4 million homes
Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

SYNDICATION
Ranked on Households
Week Ending May 16

#

 PROGRAMS

Syndicator

Households

US Rtg%

(000)

1

WHEEL OF FORTUNE

KIN

8.2

8919

2

OPRAH WINFREY SHOW (AT)

KIN

7.4

7999

3

JEOPARDY

KIN

6.8

7335

4

DR. PHIL SHOW

KIN

5.9

6425

5

SEINFELD (AT)

SPT

5.8

6323

6

FRIENDS-SYN (AT)

WB

5.5

5982

7

EVRY LVS RAYMOND-SYN (AT)

KIN

5.4

5865

8

SEINFELD-WKND (AT)

SPT

5.3

5788

9

ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT(AT)

PRM

5.2

5680

10

JUDGE JUDY (AT)

PRM

5.0

5432

Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

SPANISH-LANGUAGE TELEVISION
Ranked on Households
Week Ending May 23

#

PROGRAMS

Net

NHTI

(000)

1

MARIANA DE LA NOCHE MON

UNI

23.0

2430

2

MARIANA DE LA NOCHE TUE

UNI

22.1

2340

3

MARIANA DE LA NOCHE WED

UNI

21.9

2313

4

BAJO LA MISMA PIEL TUE

UNI

21.5

2273

5

MARIANA DE LA NOCHE THU

UNI

20.8

2201

6

BAJO LA MISMA PIEL WED

UNI

19.4

2054

6

BAJO LA MISMA PIEL THU

UNI

19.4

2050

8

AMAR OTRA VEZ THU

UNI

19.2

2028

9

BAJO LA MISMA PIEL MON

UNI

19.1

2017

10

MARIANA DE LA NOCHE FRI

UNI

19.0

2012

11

AMAR OTRA VEZ TUE

UNI

18.9

1999

11

AMAR OTRA VEZ MON

UNI

18.9

1998

13

AMAR OTRA VEZ WED

UNI

18.6

1963

14

BAJO LA MISMA PIEL FRI

UNI

17.6

1855

15

CRISTINA-MON

UNI

16.4

1731

16

NOT UNI PRESENTA 5/20(S)-05/20

UNI

16.3

1728

17

DON FRANCISCO PRESENTA-WE

UNI

16.2

1715

18

AMAR OTRA VEZ FRI

UNI

16.1

1703

19

ESCUELITA VIP FRI

UNI

15.3

1618

20

AL FILO DE LA LEY TUE

UNI

13.3

1405

* Nielsen Hispanic Television Index; ratings based on 9.7 million Hispanic TV homes.
Source: Nielsen Media Research

 

NETWORK SPORTS
Ranked on Households
Week Ending May 16

#

PROGRAMS

Net

Episode

Households

Persons 2+

US Rtg%

Shr

(000)

(000)

1

PREAKNESS
(S)-
5/15

NBC

7.7

19

8324

11646

2

NBA PLAYOFFS
ON ABC
THU 1(S) 5/13

ABC

LA  AT 
SAN ANT.

6.0

10

6474

8551

3

NBA PLAYOFFS
ON ABC-SUN 1

ABC

MINN. AT
SACRA

3.9

10

4201

5502

4

BYRON NELSON
GOLF-SU(S)
5/16

CBS

3.8

10

4143

5296

5

WWE
SMACKDOWN!

UPN

3.1

5

3340

4451

6

BYRON NELSON
GOLF-SA(S)
5/15

CBS

2.9

8

3135

3915

7

NBC SPORTS
SPECIAL
5/16(S)

NBC

GYM

1.9

6

2089

2710

8

NHL PLAYOFFS 
ON ABC
SAT 6(S)
5/15

ABC

TAMPA  
AT
PHILA

1.2

3

1302

1506

9

INDY 500 TIME
TRIALS-SAT(S)
5/15

ABC

1.1

3

1186

1421

10

NBC SPORTS
SPEC. 5/15(S)

NBC

BOXING

0.9

2

945

1173

11

NBC ARENA
FOOTBALL

NBC

VAR.
TEAMS
AND TIMES

0.8

2

835

979

Source: Nielsen Media Research


May 26, 2004© 2004 Media Life


--Diego Vasquez is a staff writer for Media Life.


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