CBS ‘Loves’ finales

'CSI,' Fox's '24' also go out on high notes

Huge turnouts for the finales of “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “CSI” vaulted CBS to another primetime ratings victory last week in a good frame for broadcast television.

In addition to “CSI” and the series wrap of “Raymond,” ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” went out with huge numbers, as all three shows topped 30 million viewers. With other skeins like Fox’s “American Idol,” ABC’s “Lost” and UPN’s “America’s Next Top Model” shining, the nets were up nearly 10% compared to the same frame year-to-year.

Another strong performer, Fox’s “24,” ended its season a winner on Monday of the current week (see below). Fox edged CBS in 18-49 on the night, keeping it in position to leapfrog the Eye on the sweep’s final night when “Idol” wraps its season.

Looking at Nielsen figures for the May 16-22 frame, the last full week of the 2004-05 season, CBS set the pace in adults 18-49 (4.4/12) and adults 25-54 (5.3/14) as well as total viewers (14.1 million) and has now won 17 of 35 weeks in the 18-49 demo. Fox was just a tick behind (4.3/12) and ABC a solid third (3.8/11), but NBC was deep in the cellar (3.0/9).

At the younger nets, UPN edged ahead of the WB in their target 18-34 demo (1.7/5 vs. 1.6/5), with the former way up vs. a year ago — thanks mostly to “Top Model” — and the latter down more than 20%, according to Nielsen.

For CBS, the two-hour season finale of “CSI” scored big (10.6/28 in 18-49, 30.73m), capping a sweep of Thursdays in May for the Eye (Daily Variety, May 23).

‘Everybody’ lifts ‘Men’

CBS also had a huge Monday as “Everybody Loves Raymond” (11.2/26 in 18-49, 32.94m) ended its run with series-best scores (Daily Variety, May 18), helping lead-out “Two and a Half Men” to its highest ratings, too (8.1/18 in 18-49, 24.24m). “Raymond” was the week’s most-watched program overall.

And on Tuesday, the 32nd annual “Academy of Country Music Awards” (3.8/10 in 18-49, 11.95m) had its best demo delivery in three years.

At Fox, “American Idol” continued to outperform last season’s ratings, dominating Tuesday with its performance show (10.4/29 in 18-49, 24.98m) and Wednesday with its results show (11.8/29, 27.93m).

Also looking good were Monday’s “24” (5.3/12 in 18-49, 11.67m), Tuesday’s “House” (7.0/18, 17.68m) and Wednesday’s season finale of “That ’70s Show” (4.3/12, 8.77m), which nabbed its best scores in about a year.

Fox also fared better than the other nets opposing ABC’s big Sunday finales by airing the network preem of “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones” (3.6/10, 8.62m).

ABC riding high

Third-place ABC enjoyed its biggest week since February, riding powerful perfs on Sunday from “Desperate Housewives” (13.4/31 in 18-49, 30.62m), “Grey’s Anatomy” (9.8/24, 22.22m) and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (7.1/20, 17.80m). “DH” and “Grey’s” hit series highs.

Also, “Lost” rolled on Wednesday (6.7/19 in 18-49, 18.62m), and original movie “The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz” did decently on Friday (2.3/8 in 18-49, 7.75m).

NBC had another ho-hum week, led by Thursday’s “ER” (8.6/21 in 18-49, 18.76m) and “The Apprentice 3” (6.3/15, 14.02m) and Tuesday’s “Law & Order: SVU” (5.7/15 in 18-49, 16.21m). Friday’s two-hour “Dateline” (2.8/10, 9.49m) was the week’s top newsmag in demos.

Elsewhere, though, Monday movie “Hercules” was scrawny (2.6/6, 7.23m) and the net ran fourth on Wednesday and Sunday.

UPN was paced by potent numbers for the season finale of “America’s Next Top Model” (3.0/9 in 18-49, 6.07m) and also got a boost from the bow of limited-run series “Britney & Kevin: Chaotic” (1.9/5, 3.66m).

Finales of “Gilmore Girls” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 5.89m) and “Smallville” (2.5/7, 5.47m) stepped up for the WB.

* * *

As they have been for the season and the May sweep, Fox and CBS were in another tight battle on the last Monday of the season, with the finale of “24” scoring big for Fox and “CSI: Miami” a winner for the Eye. Fox led in 18-49 (5.1 to 4.9), CBS in adults 25-54 and total viewers.

From 8 to 10, “24” (5.1/14 share in 18-49, 12.23m) won in key demos as well as total viewers. For the season, it was up about 15% from last year despite losing its “American Idol” lead-in and shifting to a new night.

CBS ruled at 10 with “CSI: Miami” (7.3/18 in 18-49, 21.22m), which bested the season finale of NBC’s “Medium” (4.5/11 in 18-49, 11.79m). ABC didn’t do much with its 9-11 p.m. spec “Nick & Jessica: Tour of Duty” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 6.06m).

The Eye’s comedy block dipped with the departure of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” but was paced by an hour of “Two and a Half Men” from 9 to 10 (4.6/11 in 18-49 at 9 with an original, 4.9/12 at 9:30 with a repeat). “Men” led in total viewers, averaging about 14.6 million for the hour.

NBC ran second in demos at 8 with its fading “Fear Factor” (3.4/10 in 18-49, 8.26m) and placed third at 9 with the season finale of “Las Vegas” (4.0/10 in 18-49, 11.27m).

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