NBC takes key demos while CBS nabs total viewers

HOLLYWOOD — NBC and CBS continued to dominate the top of the primetime ratings charts, with each net again claiming victory last week.

The Peacock swept the April 8-14 frame in key demos, winning Monday through Friday in adults 18-49 and topping second place for the week by 32% in that measure, according to Nielsen. The victory was the 43rd during the last 52 weeks for the net.

NBC was also the only major network to improve vs. the same week a year ago — something it’s accomplished each of the past five weeks.

An original “Will & Grace” was the week’s No. 1 show in adults 18-49, edging out a repeat of “Friends” on the same night.

CBS, boosted by Sunday pic “The Pilot’s Wife” (No. 6 for the week in viewers with 17.20 million), captured the week in total viewers and was a solid second in both 18-49 and 25-54.

Net has now won 15 of the season’s 29 weeks in total viewers, although its chances of capturing the season disappeared long ago when NBC assumed an insurmountable lead courtesy of the Winter Olympics.

A third-run episode of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” was the week’s most-watched show (22.40m), one of six CBS programs in the top 10. NBC claimed the other four.

“The Pilot’s Wife,” a Christine Lahti starrer based on an Oprah’s Book Club Selection, became the most-watched single-part movie on any net since the Eye’s “A Town Without Christmas” in December.

ABC and Fox were again shut out of the top 15 in both adults 18-49 and total viewers.

Fox boasted of the momentum for Tuesday drama “24,” which cracked the top 20 in adults 18-49 last week (4.5/11). Net also again won Saturday and Sunday in 18-49.

ABC can claim some success with new series. While “The Court” and “Wednesday 9:30 (8:30 Central)” both came and went in a flash, Wednesday laffer “The George Lopez Show” and short-run Monday reality skein “The Bachelor” are showing promise.

The WB moved ahead of UPN in total viewers and adults 18-49 while also winning the head-to-head battle in adults 18-34 and persons 12-34.

Key to the reversal was the Frog’s improved perf on Sunday with a movie. Premiere of “Payback” delivered the net’s largest aud from 7 to 9 on the night (3.55 million) since September 1999.

Overall, meanwhile, the first full week of daylight-saving time had its usual effect on the primetime ratings — dragging down the numbers of shows airing in the 8 o’clock hour, when viewers are more likely to be outside at this time of year.

Monday

Fox’s “Ally McBeal” failed to rally in its return from a five-week hiatus. Special two-hour episode, introducing Cristina Ricci as a regular and featuring guest star Matthew Perry of “Friends,” wobbled to its lowest-rated firstrun score to date (3.8/10 in A18-49). It did improve some by the 9 o’clock hour, but the once-dominant timeslot performer barely avoided a fourth-place finish for the hour.

ABC’s “The Bachelor” is finding more devotees as its builds toward its conclusion in a couple of weeks. Episode four delivered the skein’s best numbers yet (11.06m, 4.6/12 in 18-49). It finished just behind CBS’ comedies for the 9 o’clock hour in the key demo, but it pulled comfortably ahead in adults 18-34, topping the Eye for the hour by 47% (5.0/14 vs. 3.4/10).

NBC took the night in 18-49 behind another strong “Fear Factor” at 8 (5.8/18) and “Crossing Jordan” at 10 (4.6/12). “Jordan” easily topped the finale of ABC’s “Once and Again” (3.5/9).

Sunday

“Pilot’s Wife” skewed old but still delivered a solid 18-49 score (4.3/11), nearly doubling its lead-in. Pic helped send NBC’s “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” to firstrun lows (10.34m, 3.5/9 in A18-49) and gave CBS a victory on the night in total viewers and key femme demos.

Thanks in part to a much stronger lead-in, Fox’s “The X-Files” (4.0/10) moved ahead of ABC’s “Alias” (3.6/9). At 10, Alphabet’s “The Practice” won in 18-49 (4.8/12 vs. “Pilot’s Wife’s” 4.4/11) while the movie easily won in overall audience.

Saturday

Fox won in all demos as well as viewers, with the 8:30 repeat of “Cops” (8.29m, 3.4/13 in 18-49) the top show of the night and dominating its slot.

ABC couldn’t drum up interest for “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” from 8 to 9, but rallied to decent numbers the rest of the way with a repeat of theatrical “Volcano” (7.13m, 2.8/9).

Friday

NBC remains in control of the night, as “Providence,” “Dateline” and “Law & Order: SVU” again won their hours in both 18-49 and viewers.

Peacock has won 27 of 29 Fridays this season in the demo.

Thursday

CBS moved ahead in viewers while NBC remained on top in demos, led by “Will & Grace” and a pair of “Friends” repeats that topped “Survivor: Marquesas” in 18-49 (8.1 vs. 7.7).

“Primetime Thursday” thrived opposite repeat dramas on NBC and CBS, finishing second in the hour to “ER” in 18-49 (4.1/11 vs. 6.8/19) with its second-highest rating since Dec. 6.

Wednesday

ABC won the 8-10 p.m. comedy battle vs. Fox on a night when both nets’ top laffer aired in repeats. “George Lopez” won its 8:30 half-hour in adults 18-49 (3.8/11), building on a repeat “My Wife and Kids” (3.7/12) and topping Fox’s “Grounded for Life” by 3 shares (2.9/8).

Fox’s “Greg the Bunny” (2.9/7) fell behind ABC’s feisty “The Job” at 9:30 (3.0/8). “Bunny” continues to perform very well among teens, easily winning its 9:30 half-hour and ranking No. 3 for the week (5.6/20).

“Amazing Race” was again a solid second at 9 for “CBS” (3.9/10 in 18-49), a big leap over its “60 Minutes II” lead-in (2.1/7).

Tuesday

CBS easily won in total viewers with original episodes of its dramas, while NBC edged out Fox in 18-49.

Fox’s “24” was the night’s top-rated drama in 18-49 (4.5/11), while the Eye’s “JAG” drew the most viewers overall (14.82m).

Monday

“Fear Factor” paced NBC to victory on April 8 (14.29m, 6.2/18 in 18-49). Net has assumed the demo lead on the night since ABC’s “Monday Night Football” ended its season.

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