Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

ABC and NBC were in a close battle for Sunday’s 18-49 lead, according to prelim nationals from Nielsen, while CBS drew the largest aud overall, thanks in part to an NFL overrun.

ABC was led by “The Practice” (prelim 14.1 million viewers, 5.9/14 in adults 18-49), which hit a season high and opened up more distance between itself and NBC’s new drama “Boomtown” (10.8m, 4.0/9), which is still performing pretty well.

“Law & Order: Criminal Intent” paced NBC’s evening, drawing its best regular slot 18-49 number to date (5.2/12, 14.4 million viewers overall), topping ABC’s “Alias” (4.3/10 in 18-49, 10.2 million viewers overall) by 2 shares in 18-49.

NBC, though, saw a noticeable decline at 8 for “American Dreams” (10.1m, 3.7/9 in 18-49). Still, it led the 8:30 half-hour in adults 18-49 (4.2/10), a nice jump from its first half-hour (3.3/8).

It’s tough to get an accurate read on the program averages for CBS, as pro football ran until roughly 7:30 in most of the country, pushing back the evening’s lineup. From 9 to 11, original made-for “Gleason” appeared to average roughly 11 million viewers and a 3.1 rating in adults 18-49.

Fox, whose primetime comprised of one playoff baseball game and the end of another, will likely finish third on the night in adults 18-49.

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