B’cast nets lure viewers

Fox, CBS win night with scripted skeins

The broadcast nets ratcheted up the drama Monday night and viewers responded, with strong showings for scripted skeins on Fox and CBS and a nice finish for the WB’s “7th Heaven.”

There was also plenty of drama over at ABC with the underwater antics of David Blaine, while NBC remained hot in the leadoff hour with gameshow “Deal or No Deal.”

Overall, the second Monday of the May sweep went to Fox in 18-49 and male demos, and to CBS in 25-54, female demos and total viewers.

Nearly 8 million viewers said goodbye to the Camdens as the WB’s “7th Heaven” ended its 10-year run with its best perf in 16 months, according to national Nielsen estimates.

The “Heaven” finale, which featured the return of former series regulars Barry Watson and Jessica Biel, won the 8 o’clock hour among females 12-34 (4.9 rating/14 share). It also earned a 3.0/8 in adults 18-49 and 7.56 million viewers overall.

There had been some talk of the family skein moving over to the new CW net this fall, but that fell through. Show had seen its numbers gradually decline over the years while at the same time becoming more expensive to produce.

Elsewhere, Fox’s drama combo of “Prison Break” (4.0/11, 9.13m) and “24” (5.7/13, 13.86) both hit six-week highs as they near their season finales — despite stiff competition from ABC’s “David Blaine: Drowned in Water” (4.2/11, 10.05m).

“Drowned,” in which the illusionist attempted to hold his breath for nine minutes while under water, started slowly but shot up nicely in its last half-hour (6.1/14 in 18-49, 13.94m). It ran second from 8 to 10 in persons 12-34 (3.8/11) and was up vs. with the most recent Blaine spec for ABC, “Vertigo” in 2002 (4.0/10 in 18-49).

It was also a big hit in its backyard, earning a 6.9/17 in adults 18-49 in New York, according to local Nielsens.

CBS was solid at 9 with “Two and a Half Men” (4.6/11, 14.87m) and then won easily at 10 with “CSI: Miami” (6.6/17, 19.96m), which matched its best score in 14 weeks.

NBC started off well with “Deal or No Deal” (4.8/13, 15.90m) but fell off at 9 with “The Apprentice 5” (3.7/9, 9.46m). “Medium,” with guest star Kelsey Grammer, was up vs. recent weeks (4.1/10, 11.44m) but remained second at 10 o’clock.

Opposite “Medium” and “CSI: Miami” at 10, ABC drama “What About Brian” — starring “7th Heaven” grad Watson — ended its five-episode run with third-place scores (3.2/8, 6.40m) but the boost from Blaine lifted it above its recent average.

UPN’s hourlong season finale of “Girlfriends” hit a three-month high (1.7/4 in 18-49, 3.47m), while the WB’s “Everwood” took advantage of its “Heaven”-ly lead-in to hit season highs (1.6/4, 4.27m).

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