‘Lost,’ ‘Rudolph’ shine

Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

The November sweep came to a close Wednesday night with CBS, guided by its annual airing of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and ABC, with “Lost” and a “Nick & Jessica” Christmas spec, leading the way, according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen.

CBS will win the sweep in adults 18-49 (4.5 rating) as well as adults 25-54 and total viewers (Daily Variety, Dec. 1), and ABC and NBC will tie with a 4.0 rating. The Alphabet will finish on top in 18-49 actuals, though, outdrawing the Peacock by roughly 90,000 viewers in this key demo.

ABC will also edge out NBC to win the month in adults 18-34 – its first victory by this measure in any sweeps month since November 1994.

In the opening hour Wednesday, the 40th anniversary airing of “Rudolph” (5.3/14 in adults 18-49, 15.0 million viewers overall) placed a close second to ABC’s “Lost” (5.8/15 in adults 18-49, 17.0 million viewers overall), with the hot ABC drama slipping some – especially among young femmes – opposite tougher-than-usual competish. In demos, “Rudolph” more than doubled CBS’ delivery in the hour this season with “60 Minutes.”

ABC remained strong at 9 with its “Nick & Jessica Christmas” starring Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson (slot-leading 5.1/12 in adults 18-49, 12.5 million viewers overall) and then fell to third at 10 but remained competitive with “Wife Swap” (4.1/11 in adults 18-49, 9.5 million viewers overall).

NBC didn’t do much with its “The Apprentice” retrospective from 8 to 9 (2.8/7 in adults 18-49, 7.5 million viewers overall) but picked things up at 9 with “West Wing” (4.0/10 in adults 18-49, 13.3 million viewers overall) and then at 10 with “Law & Order” (4.8/12 in adults 18-49, 14.7 million viewers overall). Latter crime drama finished in its most competitive demo position yet opposite CBS’ “CSI: NY” (5.4/14 in adults 18-49, 14.6 million viewers overall), which led the hour as usual in key demos.

CBS comedy “King of Queens” took advantage of its “Rudolph” lead-in to hit a season high at 9 (slot-leading 5.3/13 in adults 18-49, 13.1 million viewers overall), but lead-out “Center of the Universe” fell to third (4.1/10 in adults 18-49, 10.5 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 5.1/13; ABC, 5.0/13; NBC, 3.9/10; Fox, 3.0/8; UPN, 1.8/5; WB, 1.6/4.

In total viewers: CBS, 13.8 million; ABC, 13.0 million; NBC, 11.8 million; Fox, 6.8 million; UPN, 4.0 million; WB, 3.4 million.

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