Starry finish boosts ABC

'Heroes' holds strong to slot

ABC kicked up its heels last week as the final installments of “Dancing With the Stars” contributed to the net’s highest-rated frame of the season.

The Alphabet won in adults 18-49 for the eighth time in the nine-week-old season and is now sitting pretty to win the November sweep in the demo. Nine nights were left to be counted, but ABC is projected to win while CBS and NBC could go down to the wire for second.

The Eye should prevail in its core 25-54 demo while winning yet again in total viewers.

Looking at the Nov. 13-19 sesh, ABC’s 4.4 rating/12 share in adults 18-49 bested CBS (4.0/11) and NBC (3.7/10), according to Nielsen estimates, with fourth-place Fox again not very competitive (2.7/7). The CW (1.5/4) edged out Univision (1.4/4) for fifth.

For a third straight week, NBC — with strong additions “Heroes,” “Sunday Night Football” and “Deal or No Deal” — was the only broadcaster showing year-to-year gains.

ABC and CBS tied for the adults 25-54 lead (5.1/12), while the Alphabet ruled once again in persons 12-34 (3.1/10) and the Eye had it in total viewers (13.4 million to 13.0 for ABC).

ABC, which matched its highest-rated week in 18-49 since the Oscars in late February, claimed four of the week’s top five spots in the demo, led by No. 1 “Grey’s Anatomy” (8.7/21 in 18-49, 20.92 million viewers overall) and No. 2 “Desperate Housewives” (8.6/19, 21.63m).

CBS drama “CSI” ran third in 18-49 (8.0/19, 24.11m), followed by Tuesday’s “Dancing With the Stars” performance show (7.5/20, 26.80m) and Wednesday’s fall finale of the skein (7.1/19, 27.52m).

“Dancing” telecasts were also the top two programs of the week in total viewers, lifting ABC to its best frame by this measure since Super Bowl week in early February.

Other ABC highlights included one of the top-rated segs to date for Sunday rookie “Brothers & Sisters” (5.4/13, 13.04m) and a good showing for Barbara Walters two-night spec “30 Mistakes in 30 Years.” Thursday seg (4.8/13 in 18-49, 12.91m) performed well behind “Grey’s Anatomy,” and Friday’s conclusion (2/9/9, 9.31m) logged the net’s best demo delivery in the 10 o’clock hour since April.

Wednesday’s two-hour preem of “Day Break” did OK (3.6/9, 10.16m), with the show settling into its regular 9 o’clock slot this week.

For the sweep, ABC was averaging a 4.2 rating in 18-49 through Monday, followed by CBS and NBC (both at 3.9) and Fox at 2.7. Several key events on various nets have yet to play, but Daily Variety projects the Alphabet will win the month in the key demo race with a 4.1 rating.

CBS and NBC will be battling for second, with the Peacock having the inside track at perhaps a 4.0.

Last week, CBS got a boost from the final 20 minutes of the Dallas-Indianapolis NFL late-afternoon game on Sunday — the highest-rated contest on any net this season — as the primetime overrun averaged a big 10.1 rating/30 share in 18-49.

That led into the top-rated “60 Minutes” of the season in both adults 25-54 (5.5/14) and total viewers (19.16m). “The Amazing Race” (4.1/9 in 18-49, 12.40m) also hit highs.

The Eye led Thursday among young adults for the first time this season (Daily Variety, Nov. 20), as “CSI” (8.0/19 in 18-49, 24.11m) matched or set season highs in key categories and rookie lead-out drama “Shark” posted its best numbers to date (4.4/12 in 18-49, 12.52m).

Also hitting a season high was Monday drama “CSI: Miami” (6.3/16, 18.77m), which beat the combined deliveries of rival dramas “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” on NBC (3.1/8, 7.58m) and “What About Brian” on ABC (2.3/6, 5.21m).

New drama “3 Lbs.” was modest in its bow Tuesday (2.9/8, 9.86m).

For NBC, “Heroes” (6.5/16 in 18-49, 15.08m) dominated its 9 o’clock slot Monday, forming a strong one-two combo with lead-in “Deal or No Deal” (5.5/14, 18.07m), which hit season-high scores.

On Monday of the current week, “Heroes” rose even higher (6.9/16, 16.03m), again establishing the best demo score for a rookie series in the past two seasons. It also topped the series preem of “ER” in 18-49 (6.8/18) to become NBC’s top-rated entertainment series telecast of the fall.

Also in the week’s top 10 among adults 18-49 were “Sunday Night Football” (5.7/14 in 18-49, 14.99m) and Thursday’s “ER” (5.5/15, 12.52m).

Fourth-place Fox looked good in a few spots, including Monday at 8, where “Prison Break” (3.8/10 in 18-49, 9.21m) was on the rise. Skein then achieved a fall high on Monday of the current week (4.0/10, 9.62m) in advance of next week’s fall finale.

“House” was again a rock for Fox on Tuesday (6.2/15, 14.80m), and “Bones” hit a season high on Wednesday (2.9/8, 7.83m).

Net’s Sunday comedies were above average too, with “Family Guy” (4.6/10 in 18-49, 9.30m) leading the way and standing as the week’s No. 1 program in men 18-34 (7.3/19).

The CW was in line with the WB vs. the same week a year ago, with the new net having its best Sunday of the season thanks to the season preem of “Reba” at 7:30 (1.6/4 in 18-49, 4.34m).

Wednesday’s “America’s Next Top Model” was again the CW’s top show (2.2/6 in 18-49, 4.71m), even though it was subpar opposite the “Dancing With the Stars” finale.

Univision was paced by the best week since its April premiere for “La Fea Mas Bella,” which averaged 5 million viewers in its five airings.

Among the ad-supported cable nets there was something of an upset as USA (1.01 rating in 18-49, 2.83 million viewers overall) edged out ESPN (0.96 rating, 2.66m). Sports net’s “Monday Night Football” was the top cable program of the frame (3.6/10 in 18-49, 9.59m), but that repped its lowest score this fall.

Boosting USA, in addition to Monday wrestling staple “WWE Raw,” was Friday’s original episode of “Monk” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 3.95m).

FX’s “Nip/Tuck” was cable’s top scripted series of the week in 18-49 (1.9/5), 25-54 (1.7/4) and 18-34 (2.2/7).

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