CBS rode the overall strength of its primetime schedule to victory last week during the first week of television’s November ratings sweeps.
NEW YORK (AP) — A prime NFL duel helped NBC, a supermarket shootout led ABC’s ”Desperate Housewives” to the top, ”Lost” lost and Fox’s soap ”The O.C.” seems just plain shot.
Meanwhile, methodical CBS rode the overall strength of its prime-time schedule to victory last week during the first week of television’s November ratings ”sweeps,” according to Nielsen Media Research. The quarterly sweeps ratings are used to determine advertising rates.
The hard-fought Sunday night football matchup between rival powerhouses Indianapolis and New England brought nearly 22 million people to NBC. That was well above Sunday-night football’s season average of 15.5 million going into last week, Nielsen said.
The game, with the help of a little strategic trickery, enabled NBC to win last week among viewers aged 18-to-49, the advertiser-friendly demographic its executives most care about. It’s the first time this season that any network has beaten ABC in this demo, Nielsen said.
NBC front-loaded the first 35 minutes of its football pre-game show with locally originated ads, meaning that time—generally the least-watched of the football night—was not counted in the national ratings. That little sleight of hand gave NBC a higher rating for football than it would have otherwise, key in an 18-to-49-year-old competition where it beat ABC by 90,000 viewers.
The football didn’t hurt ”Desperate Housewives,” also on Sunday night. With 22.6 million viewers, it was the most popular program of the week, featuring a hostage-taking mystery that clearly fueled interest.
Fox’s season premiere of ”The O.C.,” the once-popular prime-time drama, was seen by an alarmingly low 3.4 million people, ranking No. 98 on Nielsen’s list last week. It’s hurt by being in a brutal Thursday time slot, but those numbers indicate its fans have clearly moved on.
It has been a tough season so far for Fox, which doesn’t begin ”American Idol” and ”24” until January. Nothing the network has tried so far has worked, and even postseason baseball was a ratings dud.
While CBS has seen erosion in some of its most popular shows—”CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” had less than 21 million for a first-run episode last week—the network has a far deeper schedule of moderately successful shows that makes it tough to beat. In an upset that’s been brewing for awhile, ”Criminal Minds” brought in more viewers last week than ABC’s ”Lost.”
For the week, CBS averaged 12.8 million viewers (8.2 rating, 13 share), ABC had 11.4 million (7.4, 12), NBC had 10.9 million (7.0, 11), Fox had 6.4 million (4.0, 6), the CW had 3.3 million (2.1, 3) and the i network had 600,000 (0.4, 10).
Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision was boosted by the Latin Grammys to a 3.4 million average (1.9, 3), Telemundo had 770,000 (0.5, 1) and TeleFutura had 650,000 (0.4, 1).
Evening-news ratings were up across-the-board the week before the midterm election, with ABC getting the biggest boost. NBC’s ”Nightly News” finished first, averaging 9.3 million viewers (6.4, 12). ABC’s ”World News” had 9 million viewers (6.2, 12) and the ”CBS Evening News” had 7.7 million (5.5, 10).
A ratings point represents 1,114,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation’s estimated 111.4 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.
For the week of Oct. 30-Nov. 5, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships:
”Desperate Housewives,” ABC, 22.65 million; NFL Football: Indianapolis at New England, NBC, 21.95 million; ”Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC, 21.03 million; ”CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 20.77 million; ”Dancing with the Stars,” ABC, 20.51 million; ”Dancing with the Stars Results,” ABC, 19.22 million; ”Criminal Minds,” CBS, 16.97 million; ”Deal or No Deal (Monday), NBC, 16.9 million; ”CSI: NY,” CBS, 16.64 million; ”Lost,” ABC, 16.07 million.