Peacock, CBS share the week's bragging rights

NBC and CBS, the two nets expected to duke it out for ratings supremacy this fall, closed out the 2003-04 season last week by once again sharing bragging rights.

The Peacock, bolstered by Thursday’s first-runs of “The Apprentice 2” and “Will & Grace,” edged past the Eye in adults 18-49 (3.9/11 vs. 3.7/11), according to Nielsen. ABC ran third (3.1/9) despite a week that included the Primetime Emmys and premiere of “Monday Night Football,” and Fox (2.1/6) wasn’t even competitive.

CBS, led by the return of “Survivor” and getting a nice assist from football on both Saturday and Sunday, tied NBC for the week’s 25-54 lead (4.4/11) and won outright in total viewers (10.9 million).

Overall, NBC and CBS accounted for 22 of the week’s top 25 programs in adults 18-49, with football on both ABC and ESPN repping two of the others and Fox’s reality hour “Trading Spouses” sneaking in at No. 24.

On top of the demo list for the week was “The Apprentice 2” (8.3/22 in 18-49, 15.90m), which was up nicely from its soft season preem a week earlier, grabbing the highest 18-49 score for any entertainment program since the May sweep. This despite overlapping with CBS drama “CSI” (7.8/20 in 18-49, 22.32m), the week’s most-watched show overall and the top-rated drama on any net in 18-49 since its season finale last May.

A pair of vets, CBS’ “Survivor” and NBC’s “Will & Grace,” got off to strong starts Thursday, while new Peacock laffer “Joey” looked good in its second outing (Daily Variety, Sept. 20). Also doing well for NBC were Wednesday spec “Siegfried & Roy: The Miracle” (slot-leading 4.8/13 in 18-49, 14.50m) and week three of laffer “Father of the Pride” (4.1/11, 9.66m).

At CBS, a big 33-minute football overrun on Sunday (7.9/29 in 18-49, 19.80m) helped juice its weekly numbers, while college football (Tennessee-Florida) produced the net’s strongest Saturday (2.3/8 in 18-49) since April 3. And Tuesday reality skeins “Amazing Race” (4.7/13 in 18-49, 10.30m) and “Big Brother” (4.3/11, 9.99m) won their hours as they neared their finales.

ABC was paced by “Monday Night Football” (7.8/21 in 18-49, 18.75m for Packers-Panthers) and the 56th annual Primetime Emmys (4.6/12 in 18-49, 13.79m), which fell to its second-lowest audience to date. Saturday’s “Miss America” (2.8/9 in 18-49, 9.81m) and Friday’s Barbara Walters sendoff on “20/20” (3.0/9, 9.81m) both performed well for their timeslots.

And nothing much clicked for Fox, with the exception of “Trading Spouses” (3.4/10 in 18-49, 7.41m), which led its Tuesday hour in demos, and Wednesday’s original “That ’70s Show” (3.3/10, 6.61m), which notched its own demo victory but has started the season sluggishly.

Solid starts for its Monday and Friday lineups helped the WB easily top UPN in adults 18-34 (1.6/5 vs. 1.1/3), but the net’s new Sunday drama “Jack & Bobby” (1.3/3 in 18-49, 3.08m) fell off in week two. Overall, the Frog placed third in females 12-34 (2.3/7).

UPN was paced by “WWE Smackdown” (1.8/5, 4.74m) and “Amish in the City” (1.7/5, 1.93m).

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