Network stakes out 2nd place in key demo

HOLLYWOOD — Fox solidified its second-place demo standing for the sweep with an easy victory on the final Sunday of the season, a night that saw CBS and ABC enjoy success with high-profile made-fors.

According to prelim nationals from Nielsen, Fox won five of its six half-hours in adults 18-49 and 18-34, including the alien-childbirth episode of “The X-Files” prevailing against tough competition at 9. “X-Files,” though down by 13% in adults 18-49 vs. last year’s finale (prelim 7.5/18 vs. 8.5/20), delivered its best numbers in 12 weeks, and was the night’s top show in adults 18-49 and 25-54.

Mob rule?

Among the hearty opposition airing opposite “X-Files” was the season finale of HBO’s “The Sopranos,” ratings for which will be released today.

CBS, meanwhile, won the night in total viewers and women 25-54, powered by Mary Tyler Moore telepic “Like Mother, Like Son,” which delivered the net’s best made-for scores since December. Pic won its time period in viewers (prelim 16.1m), adults 25-54 (5.9/13) and women 25-54 (7.6/16).

The Sunday victory in total viewers (prelim 14.6 million vs. second-place ABC’s 12.5m) has given the net the inside track in the race to finish the season as the most watched network in primetime. CBS, which also will win the May sweep in that measure for the first time in 18 years, led the second-place Alphabet net by roughly 25,000 viewers with just three nights to be counted.

ABC needed a huge score from mini “Anne Frank” and settled for strong but unspectacular numbers. Still, the opening night of the well-reviewed two-parter won its two-hour block in adults 18-49 (prelim 4.9/12) and was second to the CBS pic in total viewers (prelim 13.9m).

It’s also the third-best 18-49 score of the season for the opening night of a miniseries. “Frank” wrapped Monday.

In addition to “X-Files,” Fox also received strong perfs from “Malcolm in the Middle” (prelim 13.8m, 6.9/18 in A18-49) and three episodes of “The Simpsons.” Toon’s final seg, an original at 8, won its timeslot by all key measures, including total viewers (prelim 13.4m) and 18-49 (6.9/20).

Jumping through hoops

Coedies would likely have fared even better if not for a competitive National Basketball Assn. Game 7 in the Eastern semifinals between Toronto and Philadelphia on NBC. Game wrapped in the 8 o’clock half-hour with solid numbers — likely winning its primetime portion in some key demos — although reliable ratings were unavailable Monday.

NBC got respectable numbers for “Submerged,” a submarine-rescue telepic, (prelim 10.4m, 3.6/9), although it ran a distant third. Net likely will finish the night a solid second in most demos.

The Peacock will win the week of May 14-20 with its biggest adults 18-49 rating (projected 5.8) and third-largest overall audience (projected 13.4 million) of the season. Runners-up will be Fox in the demo (4.4) and CBS in total viewers (11.2 million).

Projected May sweeps 18-49 standings through Sunday: NBC, 5.0/14 (down 9% in rating vs. a year ago); Fox, 4.2/12 (up 2%); CBS, 3.9/11 (up 15%); ABC, 3.8/11 (down 28%); UPN, 1.6/5 (down 6%), tied with the WB, 1.6/5 (up 14%).

In total viewers: CBS, 12.6 million (up 6%); NBC, 12.0m (down 6%); ABC, 10.7m (down 29%); Fox, 8.7m (up 3%); UPN, 3.8m (down 9%); the WB, 3.6m (up 8%).

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