Alpha role for ABC

'Stars,' 'Lost' power sweep

“Lost” and “Dancing With the Stars” kept ABC atop the ratings leaderboard on the first Wednesday of the November sweep, but CBS made some noise too, with the hot “Criminal Minds” hitting another high.

Fox’s experiment with “The OC” on the night, meanwhile, didn’t work out well, and the show’s future appears to be on shaky ground.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, the fall finale of “Lost” (7.0 rating/17 share in adults 18-49, 17.15 million viewers overall) won the 9 o’clock hour in key demos and was up vs. recent weeks, but its first six segs of this fall are off by more than 20% in 18-49 vs. last year. Show returns Feb. 7 for an uninterrupted 16-week run.

CBS crime drama “Criminal Minds” again put up a good demo fight (5.2/12 in 18-49, 17.57m), hitting a regular-slot series high in 18-49 for the second straight week and again drawing more total viewers than the ABC drama. It will be interesting to see if “Criminal” can grow even more in coming weeks as the new “Day Break” takes over for “Lost.”

In the same hour, it was a weak showing for Fox’s “The OC” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 3.54m), which fell behind CW’s “One Tree Hill” (1.6/4, 3.56m). Fox was giving the fourth-year sudser a one-week tryout on Wednesday after posting similarly low numbers in its season premiere on Thursday.

It was unclear where Fox intended to air “The OC” next week, but it likely won’t put up with such low scores on either night much longer.

One week from its finale, ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” dominated at 8 with the highest scores yet for its results show (5.2/14, 20.69m). CBS’ “Jericho” remained second in the hour (3.0/8, 9.68m), with Fox’s “Bones” closing the gap (2.8/8, 7.52m).

In addition to “Dancing,” two other unscripted skeins performed pretty well: NBC’s “Biggest Loser” was on the high end with a two-hour seg (3.1/8, 7.20m) and CW’s “America’s Next Top Model” (2.6/7, 5.37m) ran second to “Dancing” in adults 18-34 (3.2/9).

CBS’ “CSI: NY” (5.4/15, 16.78m) again ruled the 10 p.m. hour over NBC’s “Dateline” (2.9/8, 8.10m) and ABC’s struggling “The Nine” (2.8/8, 7.221m). NBC’s “Medium” invades the hour beginning next week.

For the night, ABC led over second-place CBS in 18-49 (5.1/13 to 4.5/12), 25-54 (6.0/14 to 5.7/14) and total viewers (15.1 million to 14.7m).

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