Retooled sked gives Eye sweeps victory

CBS, UPN only nets to match or improve year ago perfs

Key Wednesday scheduling shifts and another strong Sunday delivery have enabled CBS to continue its fall momentum, sweeping the 10th week of the season in key ratings categories.

The Nov. 24-30 frame, which included the final three nights of the November sweep as well as the long Thanksgiving weekend, went to the Eye web in adults 18-49 (3.8/11, narrowly ahead of NBC’s 3.7/10), adults 25-54 (4.8/12) and total viewers (13.27 million). This is the net’s first outright in-season 18-49 victory since January.

CBS and UPN were the only broadcasters to match or improve upon their perfs of the same week a year ago.

By moving Thursday skein “Survivor” to Wednesday, the sweep’s final night, CBS not only finished the November ratings period on a high note but also energized the whole night. “King of Queens” hit a season high at 9 (5.2/15 in 18-49, 15.00m) and a special repeat of “CSI” at 10 tied NBC’s “Law & Order” in 18-49 (5.0/14).

“Survivor: Pearl Islands,” building toward its Dec. 14 finale, was the week’s No. 1 program (7.2/22 in 18-49, 20.06 million viewers overall). CBS captured six of the week’s top 10 among adults 18-49, seven of 10 in adults 25-54 and nine of 10 in total viewers.

The Eye also was strong on Sunday, with an NFL overrun leading into “60 Minutes,” which drew its best 25-54 rating since December 2000 (6.4/15) and its largest overall aud since January 2002 (19.14m). Edition featured a Mike Wallace interview with former pro football player Lawrence Taylor.

‘Cold’ is hot

Rookie drama “Cold Case” followed with new highs (4.3/10 in 18-49, 16.47m), and original pic “Finding John Christmas” also did well (3.7/9 in 18-49, 16.20m). Through 10 weeks, CBS’ Sunday is up 15% year-to-year in 18-49 while the other nets are all down.

NBC, which tied Fox for the week’s lead in adults 18-34, enjoyed success with “Family” fare: The first family edition of “Fear Factor” on Monday delivered the show’s best results since March, while Saturday’s network preem of Nicolas Cage pic “Family Man” (4.0/12 in 18-49, 11.34m) dominated the evening with the net’s best non-sports score on the night in three years.

While a Shania Twain concert spec performed admirably on Tuesday (3.5/9 in 18-49), both “Harry Connick Jr. at Christmas” on Thursday (2.6/8 in 18-49) and “Justin Timberlake Home in Memphis” on Friday fizzled (1.5/5).

ABC edged out Fox for third in 18-49, with highlights including a fourth straight 18-49 victory for Tuesday laffer “8 Simple Rules” (4.2/13); a demo victory for the first part of “Trista & Ryan’s Wedding” on Wednesday (5.0/14); and “20/20” ranking as Friday’s No. 1 show (3.5/11 in 18-49, 11.17m).

Also, “Extreme Makeover” did well at 10 (4.7/13 in 18-49, 12.12m).

Not-so-sloppy ‘Joe’

At Fox, which went with movies Thursday, Friday and Saturday, “Joe Millionaire” concluded its second edition with its best numbers (3.5/9 in 18-49 for its two hours on Monday); “Bernie Mac” got off to a solid start Sunday (Daily Variety, Dec. 2); and “An American Idol Christmas” spec chimed in with solid Tuesday numbers (4.1/12 in 18-49, 10.87m).

UPN and the WB tied for fifth in adults 18-34 (1.5/5), with the former flat year-to-year and the latter down a big 29%.

Leading the charge for UPN was a Thanksgiving edition of “WWE Smackdown” that won the night in males 12-34 (2.9/11, tied with CBS) and the Wednesday spec “Stone Cold Truth,” which gave the net its best Wednesday-at-9 result among adults 18-34 in 13 months (1.5/5).

In the evening news derby, NBC’s “Nightly News” (3.2/11 in adults 25-54, 11.53m) opened some distance on ABC’s “World News Tonight” (2.9/10 in 25-54, 10.18m). CBS’ “Evening News” remained in the cellar (2.3/8 in 25-54, 8.51m).

Nielsen delayed the release of weekly cable ratings until today due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

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