'The Others' post strong second-week numbers

With Thursday’s lineup contributing its best ratings since September and strong second-week numbers from rookie Saturday drama “The Others” highlighting a weekend surge, NBC has moved ahead of ABC after 10 days of the February sweeps period.

NBC won Thursday by 14 shares over ABC in adults 18-49, while prelim Nielsens show the Peacock topping both CBS and Fox by one share on Friday. Fox appears to have won Saturday by a slim margin over NBC.

The Peacock leads the sweeps to date with roughly a 6.0 rating, 16 share, in adults 18-49, followed by ABC (5.5/15), Fox (4.1/11) and CBS (3.3/9).

NBC rolled on Thursday behind the highest-rated “ER” (31.33 million total viewers, 15.6 rating/39 share in adults 18-49) since its season premiere last September. At 9 p.m., “Frasier” (20.27 million, 9.8/24 in adults 18-49) posted its largest margin of victory yet in adults 18-49 over ABC’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” (8.4/20).

“Millionaire” remains tough, though, topping the hour in total viewers (27.97 million vs. NBC’s 18.95 million).

ABC’s “Whose Line Is It Anyway,” perhaps benefiting by having “Millionaire” as a regular lead-out, drew an average of 12.1 million viewers and a 5.1 rating in adults 18-49 for its two episodes from 8-9 p.m. — gains of 29% and 24%, respectively, over its season-to-date averages.

UPN’s Thursday wrestling audience, meanwhile, appears unfazed by the likes of “Millionaire” or “Frasier,” as this week’s “WWF Smackdown!” notched a best-yet 8.4 million total viewers and delivered the netlet’s best-ever Thursday ratings in men 18-34 (5.9/17) and kids (5.0/17).

NBC’s winning Friday (a prelim 13 million, 4.2/13 in adults 18-49) was paced by time-winning perfs from “Providence” (14.9 million, 4.7/16 in adults 18-49) and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (4.3/13).

CBS tied with Fox for second thanks to a Charles Schulz tribute at 8 p.m. (prelim 10.9 million, 3.5/12 in adults 18-49) and the rookie drama “Now & Again” (11 million, 3.7/12 in adults 18-49), which grew in its 9:30 half-hour to trail only Fox’s “Greed” in adults 18-49.

“Greed” won both of its half-hours in adults 18-49.

Fox’s durable Saturday night lineup of “Cops” and “America’s Most Wanted” continues to roll, this week besting the competition in adults 18-49 (a prelim 4.0/12).

NBC placed second Saturday in adults 18-49 as its supernatural drama “The Others” (a prelim 9 million, 4.2/13), although down from its solid bow a week ago, did a better job this week of building upon its adults 18-49 lead-in. “The Others” built on its “Profiler” lead-in (3.3/10) by 30% this week, up from its 9% increase the previous week.

ABC took the night in total viewers (a prelim 10.3 million) with a special “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Although the skating special (11.2 million, 3.2/10 in adults 18-49) skewed older, it did achieve a gain of 45% over a figure skating special ABC aired on a Saturday night in January with a “Millionaire” lead-in.

Gameshow “Winning Lines” (a lowest yet 1.8/6 in adults 18-49) got CBS off to a slow start on Saturday, and the Eye net never recovered, finishing five shares behind leader Fox in adults 18-49.

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