Alphabet trails Eye in 18 - 49 demo derby

ABC and CBS are looking good at the halfway point of the November sweep after putting up the best numbers Wednesday night.

The Alphabet, which won the night in key demos thanks to “Lost,” remains the most improved net compared with a year ago. It trails CBS in the closely watched 18-49 demo race, and it should be a tight battle down the stretch.

The Eye, riding a winning perf by “CSI: NY,” was a solid second Wednesday in demos and took the night in total viewers. Net is expected to win the month in adults 25-54 and is the runaway leader in total viewers.

NBC and Fox are also-rans for the month, with the Peacock down sharply and the Murdoch net up a bit. UPN has the lead on the WB in their target 18-34 demo race (1.7 to 1.6) and is up year to year after the former’s “America’s Next Top Model” delivered more potent numbers Wednesday night.

According to Nielsen, ABC’s “Lost” (9.2/22 in 18-49, 21.87 million viewers overall) stood as the night’s top show with an expanded seg that aired until 10:04. Skein bounced back from its previous week’s season low for an original episode, up 11% in 18-49.

Net then lost more than half of that aud with “Invasion” (4.2/11, 10.32m from 10:04-11), which beat NBC’s fading “Law & Order” (3.4/9, 11.44m) but was no match for CBS’ “CSI: NY” (5.5/14, 15.69m).

Eye ran a solid second at 9 with “Criminal Minds” (4.1/10, 14.36m).

Night’s opening hour gave each broadcaster something to cheer about, with Fox’s “That ’70s Show” at 8 (3.3/9 in 18-49, 6.78m) and ABC’s “Freddie” at 8:30 (3.6/9, 8.58m) winning the half-hours in 18-49.

NBC’s “E-Ring” inched up to a series high in 18-49 (2.9/8, 9.72m), tying with Johnny Cash tribute spec “I Walk the Line” on CBS (2.9/8 in 18-49); latter led its hour in 25-54 (3.9/10) and total viewers with the net’s best scores in the slot since March.

Fox’s 8:30 laffer “Stacked” improved some week to week but remained fifth (2.4/6, 5.40m).

And UPN’s “Top Model” (2.6/7 in 18-49, 5.53m) prevailed in adults 18-34 (season-high 3.3/10), while the WB’s “One Tree Hill” (1.6/4, 3.52m) was on the rise, placing second to “Model” among femmes 12-34 (3.2/9).

Through two weeks of the sweep, according to Nielsen, CBS led in adults 18-49 with a 4.5 rating/12 share (down 6% in rating vs. a year ago), followed by ABC (4.3/11, up 8%); NBC, 3.3/9 (down 20%); Fox (3.1/8, up 3%); and UPN (1.5/4, down 6%), tied with the WB (1.5/4, down 12%).

CBS is on top in adults 25-54 (5.7/13), with ABC the only net within shouting distance (5.1/12); ABC has the lead over Fox in 18-34 (3.6/11 to 3.3/10); and CBS (14.6 million) is well ahead of second-place ABC (11.5 million) in total viewers.

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