Eye is only network to avoid year-to-year declines

ABC caught a ratings bouquet with Wednesday’s finale of “The Bachelor,” as the fifth edition of the relationship franchise dominated the competish.

Night marked the end of the third week of the November sweep, which sees CBS as the only network to avoid year-to-year declines. The Eye web, which is crushing the competish when it comes to total viewers, is a close second to NBC in adults 18-49 and remains on top in 25-54.

With its winning Wednesday, ABC has locked up third place over Fox for the month in 18-49, with both off about 10% vs. last year. NBC’s 14% decline is the largest for any of the major nets (the WB has tumbled 19% in 18-49 and 24% in 18-34).

On Wednesday, ABC led each half-hour from 9 to 11 with “The Bachelor” (8.8/21 in adults 18-49, 18.62 million viewers overall), which built to a 10.2/26 in the demo and nearly 21 million viewers in its final half-hour. This is the Alphabet’s highest 18-49 program rating of the season and is the biggest this sweep for any net outside of Thursday night.

Although this finale of “The Bachelor” is down from last fall’s (11.9/28 in 18-49), it is up from its most recent edition in the spring (7.2/17). Show grabbed a 26 share in adults 18-34 and a 32 in women 18-34, including a 38 at 10:30.

The Alphabet kicked off the night with a narrow 18-49 victory at 8 for “My Wife and Kids” (4.6/13, 12.57m) over Fox’s “That ’70s Show” (4.5/13, 8.47m), but a repeat of “’70s,” in for the struggling “A Minute With Stan Hooper,” topped ABC’s “It’s All Relative” for the demo lead at 8:30 (5.2/13 vs. 4.0/10).

Also at Fox, which edged out NBC for second on the night in adults 18-49, 9 o’clock drama “The OC” (4.2/10 in 18-49, 9.03m) held up well opposite “The Bachelor,” up week-to-week and achieving a 20 share in teens.

NBC was led by “Law & Order” at 10 (5.6/14 in 18-49, 17.53m), although the veteran crime drama seemed to be affected by “The Bachelor.”

Sweep Standings
(Through Three Weeks)
Adults 18-49
Net
Rating/Share vs. last yr.
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4.4/12

-14%

4.1/11

+2%

3.8/10

-10%

3.2/9

-9%

1.7/4

-19%

1.6/4

-11%

Source: Nielsen Media Research

Also for the net, “Ed” (3.3/9 in 18-49, 9.52m) and “The West Wing” (4.2/10 in 18-49, 13.49m) were on the high end of recent scores.

CBS was led as usual by “King of Queens” (4.0/10 in 18-49, 11.92m), while the net’s underwear spec “Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show” (3.8/9 in 18-49, 9.44m) finished last among the broadcasters at 10 and was down slightly from last year’s scores.

Both the WB and UPN turned in solid perfs in the 8 o’clock hour, with the latter’s “Enterprise” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 4.59m) stepping up with its strongest numbers since February, including a 38% week-to-week spike in adults 18-34 (1.8/5 vs. 1.3/4).

Frog’s “Smallville” (2.8/8 in 18-49, 6.36m) placed second in 18-34 and 12-34 demos and hit season highs in femme categories.

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