Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

There was room for two high-profile original movies on Sunday, as both NBC’s “Saving Jessica Lynch” and CBS’ “Elizabeth Smart Story” scored with auds, according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen.

Although prelim numbers for CBS are a bit sketchy due to the net’s early-evening NFL overrun, it appears that “Elizabeth Smart” (5.4/14 in adults 18-49, 15.6 million viewers overall) and “Jessica Lynch” (5.4/13 in adults 18-49, 14.9 million viewers overall) finishing in a dead heat among adults 18-49, with the CBS pic drawing a larger aud overall. These are the best 18-49 scores for a movie on any net since a repeat of theatrical “The Santa Clause” on ABC last November.

CBS, which got a big boost from its pro football action from 7 to 7:30, will win the night in most key measures with its best delivery of the season, while NBC ran second with its strongest Sunday showing since February.

The Peacock also got nice contributions from “Dateline’s” best showing since premiere week (2.9/8 in adults 18-49, 10 million viewers overall) and a special 8 o’clock seg of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (4.3/10 in adults 18-49, 13 million viewers overall).

Fox received 18-49 slot victories from “The Simpsons” with both an original seg at 8 (5.8/14) and a repeat at 8:30 (6.0/14). At 9:30, though, new comedy “Arrested Development” (3.0/7 in adults 18-49, 6.7 million viewers overall) retained a soft 70% of its 18-49 lead-in from “Malcolm in the Middle” (4.3/10 in adults 18-49, 9.8 million viewers overall).

ABC didn’t do too much on the night, although “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (2.9/8 in adults 18-49, 9.5 million viewers overall) inched up to a season high and “Alias” (projected 3.9/9 in adults 18-49, 9.2 million viewers overall) appears to be up week-to-week.

Preliminary 18-49 averages: CBS, 4.9/12; NBC, 4.5/11; Fox, 4.3/11; ABC, 3.2/8; WB, 1.7/4.

In total viewers: CBS, 16.9 million; NBC, 13.2 million; Fox, 9.3 million; ABC, 9.2 million; WB, 3.6 million.

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