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UPN’s haute ‘Model’

Big debut fashioned; 'Idol,' 'Lost' sweep up

UPN’s “America’s Next Top Model” appears to have legs, kicking off its fourth edition Wednesday with strong numbers opposite tough competish.

Up in total viewers from the bow of “Model 3” last fall, the reality show ranked second for its hour in young women and helped UPN end the February sweep on a high note.

Fox, with “American Idol” dominating in its new truncated 30-minute results timeslot, and ABC, with “Lost” staying hot, ruled the night. As projected, these nets also finished at Nos. 1 and 2 for the month in adults 18-49 (Daily Variety, Feb. 2).

Looking at Wednesday’s action, “Top Model” (2.2/6 in adults 18-49, 5.08 million viewers overall) opened with its largest premiere aud to date and matched its best opening-night scores in adults 18-34 (2.7/8) and key female demos.

Considering that “Model” tends to grow from its premiere and that it will face repeats of “Lost” for the next five weeks, UPN can expect some good Wednesday numbers down the stretch.

Another unscripted UPN series, the limited-run “Road to Stardom With Missy Elliott,” garnered series highs across the board at 9 (1.8/4 in 18-49, 4.31m).

Fox’s “American Idol” at 9 was the night’s top-rated show (10.3/25 in 18-49, 24.29m), and lead-out “Simple Life 3” won at 9:30 (5.8/14, 12.81m). ABC’s “Lost” ruled at 8 (7.0/19 in 18-49, 18.85m), setting a series high in teens (4.6/15), but 9 o’clock drama “Alias” is slipping (3.9/9, 9.69m).

At NBC, a special “Dateline” at 8 featuring an interview with Scott Peterson’s sister Anne Bird delivered the slot’s best numbers since November (3.2/9 in 18-49, 10.91m). “Law & Order” closed out the night (4.9/13, 14.66m) by winning at 10 over CBS’ “CSI: NY” (4.7/13, 13.62m) with its best demos since December.

For the sweep, Fox led in adults 18-49 with a record-high 6.5 rating/16 share (up 55% vs. a year ago when it didn’t air the Super Bowl), followed by ABC (4.1/11, up 14%), CBS (3.8/10, down 10%), NBC (3.6/9, down 25%), the WB (1.4/4, down 13%) and UPN (1.4/3, down 18%). Net also led in all other categories, including total viewers (15.6 million).

Without Super Bowl Sunday in the mix, Fox won in 18-49 with a 4.7/12, followed by ABC (4.2/11), CBS (3.9/10), NBC (3.7/10), the WB (1.5/4) and UPN (1.4/3). Fox also led sans football in 25-54 (5.0/12) and 12-34 (4.3/13), while CBS was on top in total viewers (12.6 million).

UPN (off 18%) and the WB (off 11%) were both down in adults 18-34 vs. a year ago, with the former really missing “Top Model” for the first three weeks. Net’s Monday comedies rebounded this week, with “Girlfriends” and “Half & Half” pacing the net’s best 18-34 average on the night (2.0/5) since November 2003.

The WB, meanwhile, did well on Tuesdays and Fridays but really struggled on Sunday, where the Grammys, Oscars and Super Bowl took a toll.

On Friday, “Reba” had its best February sweep to date in adults 18-49 (2.1/6) and total viewers (5.1 million), and “What I Like About You” led its time period in femmes 12-34 (2.2/8).

Also, the hot Tuesday combo of “Gilmore Girls” and “One Tree Hill” was up 17% in adults 18-34, with the former often placing behind only “American Idol” in younger demos.

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