CBS sweeps by NBC

Strong finish helps Eye nab second in viewers

Roma Downey and Rudolph have guided CBS to a second-place finish in the November sweeps total viewers and households races, dropping NBC to third, by either measure, for the first time in a sweeps month in five years.

With ABC’s November victory a foregone conclusion, the only drama on the closing night of sweeps Wednesday was who’d finish second in homes and viewers. CBS resolved the matter convincingly, beating NBC by 2.4 million viewers with the Roma Downey vidpic “The Test of Love” (17.63 million total viewers, 5.5/14 in adults 18-49) and the 36th net airing of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (19.21 million, 7.2/19 in adults 18-49).

‘Christmas’ present

NBC kept the race interesting with a 30% viewer gain vs. last year for its “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” (16.23 million, 3.9/11 in adults 18-49), which dominated viewing in the New York market with a 23.3/32 homes score (up 8% vs. last year). Nationally, NBC skated to its highest nightlong Wednesday viewer average (15.74 million) with entertainment fare since Nov. 26, 1997.

ABC continued to suffer post-“Millionaire” letdown, equaling its lowest Wednesday 18-49 average this season (5.1/13) after “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” boosted the Alphabet to its three highest Wednesday scores this season during the previous three weeks. The hit gameshow returns to the ABC sked as a thrice-weekly series (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays) starting Jan. 11.

Show Fox the ratings

Fox’s three-hour broadcast premiere of “Jerry Maguire” (11.42 million, 5.6/14 in adults 18-49) negotiated that net’s best non-sports Wednesday viewer total since February.

Those Dec. 1 results wrapped the November sweeps, with CBS nipping NBC for second in homes (9.2/15 vs. 9.1/15) and total viewers (13.58 million vs. 13.49 million). NBC was a solid second in adults 18-49, with a 5.4/14 (down 8% vs. last year), while CBS stayed fourth by that measure with a 4.0/11 (down 2%). CBS placed third among adults 25-54, topping Fox.

Other final 18-49 averages were: ABC, 5.9/16 (up 13%); Fox, 4.9/13 (down 14%); UPN, 1.6/4 (up 33%); WB, 1.6/4 (down 16%); Pax TV, 0.3/1 (up 50%). Despite its overall losses, Fox led November in men, women and adults 18-34 for a second straight year.

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