CMA Awards help ABC win week

Network poised to capture third sweeps victory

ABC was sitting tall in the saddle last week, as its annual airing of the “CMA Awards” dominated Wednesday night and lifted the net to another demo victory.

The Alphabet has captured five of the season’s first seven weeks in adults 18-49 and is poised to capture its third straight November sweeps victory among young adults. Net’s “Grey’s Anatomy” was the week’s No. 1 telecast in 18-49 — one of seven ABC programs among the top 20.

Overall, according to Nielsen estimates for the week of Nov. 5-11, ABC led in adults 18-49 with a 3.8 rating/10 share, followed by Fox (3.5/9), CBS (3.3/9) and NBC (3.1/8). Univision, thanks to the Latin Grammy Awards, finished a solid fifth (1.8/5), with CW and ESPN tied for sixth (1.2/3).

The Alphabet also edged out CBS to win the week in both adults 25-54 (4.4/11) and total viewers (11.93 million), while Fox again led the pack among persons 12-34 (3.2/9).

For ABC, the 41st annual Country Music Assn. Awards gave the net its strongest Wednesday of the season (5.4/14 in 18-49, 15.95m), on par with last year in most categories and posting the kudocast’s best female demos in four years.

The Alphabet also claimed the top show of the night in 18-49 on Monday with “Dancing With the Stars” (4.9/12 in 18-49, 20.47m), Thursday with “Grey’s Anatomy” (8.0/19, 19.50m) and Sunday with “Desperate Housewives” (7.2/16, 18.63m).

And although Tuesday laffers “Cavemen” (1.7/5, 4.88m) and “Carpoolers” (1.9/5, 5.49m) hit their lowest scores, Monday comedy “Samantha Who?” remained solid (4.3/10, 12.86m).

Fox’s second-place 18-49 finish came courtesy of a strong finish Sunday: Following a football overrun and postgame show, “The Simpsons” (5.1/13, 10.53m) and “Family Guy” (5.4/12 in 18-49, 10.39m) were both on the high end, and “American Dad” (3.9/9, 7.77m) had its best night since January.

“House” continues to be a huge performer for Fox, placing second for the week in 18-49 and delivering its highest rating in 18-34 to date without the benefit of an “American Idol” lead-in (7.7/20).

CBS got good mileage out of promotion from the previous week’s huge Sunday NFL game between New England and Indianapolis. Monday’s comedy block was on the rise, Tuesday’s “NCIS” (4.0/11, 18.15m) ruled its timeslot and drew its second largest overall aud to date, and Thursday’s crossover stunt drove up the numbers for “CSI” and “Without a Trace” (Daily Variety, Nov. 12).

“CSI” (6.4/15 in 18-49, 21.94m) and “Trace” (6.4/17, 21.68m) were the week’s top two shows in total viewers.

Net also continues to shine Friday, where rising rookie “Moonlight” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 7.90m) seems to be lifting the shows surrounding it. “Ghost Whisperer” had its best showing since February (2.9/9, 9.85m) and “Numbers” (2.8/8, 9.94m) matched its season highs in demos.

NBC was repped in the top 10 by only “Sunday Night Football” (6.8/17 in 18-49, 17.33m for San Diego-Indianapolis), but received solid scores for other shows like “Heroes” (4.9/11, 9.87m), “Law & Order: SVU” (4.3/12, 11.70m) and “The Office” (4.3/10, 8.27m).

Not clicking with auds is Wednesday unscripted series “Phenomenon” (2.2/6, 6.10m).

At CW, “America’s Next Top Model” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 5.10m) was the top series in its Wednesday hour among adults 18-34 (2.9/8), and the net’s wrestling series “Friday Night Smackdown” (1.5/4, 4.85m) hit season highs in key demos.

The season overall remains a struggle for the net, although its 9 o’clock dramas “Reaper,” “Gossip Girl” and “Supernatural” are all among the biggest gainers in seven-day DVR playback, according to Nielsen.

ESPN led cable even though its blowout “Monday Night Football” game between Pittsburgh and Baltimore was on the low end (4.1/11 in 18-49, 9.89m).

Saturday was a big night for family viewing, with Disney Channel drawing the largest overall audiences for any cable entertainment series during the week with “Hannah Montana” (5.47 million) and “Wizards of Waverly Place” (4.60 million). And TBS scored with its annual airings of the animated classic “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (3.06 million) and “The Wizard of Oz” (4.38 million).

Other highlights of the week included a nice finish for ABC Family’s “Lincoln Heights” on Tuesday (series-record 1.68 million viewers) and growth for Lifetime’s “America’s Psychic Challenge” (1.17 million), which was the top cable show in its Friday slot in key femme demos.

Top cable entertainment series averages in 18-49 were Comedy Central’s “South Park” on Wednesday (2.1/6), FX’s “Nip/Tuck” on Tuesday (2.0/6) and MTV’s “The Hills” on Monday (1.9/5).

* * *

On Monday of this week, a lousy NFL game on “Monday Night Football” (3.6/9 in 18-49, 8.96m for Seattle-San Francisco) seemed to open things up for the broadcasters.

CBS rookie “The Big Bang Theory” (3.8/9, 9.32m) joined the net’s 9 o’clock laffers “Two and a Half Men” (5.0/11, 14.12m) and “Rules of Engagement” (4.0/9, 11.45m) in hitting season highs.

NBC’s male-skewing drama “Heroes” (5.2/12, 11.16m) was also on the rise, helping lead-out rookie drama “Journeyman” (2.4/6, 6.09m) post its first week-to-week gains. Fox’s “K-Ville” (1.6/4, 4.72m) didn’t take advantage, though, returning after a week off to retain roughly half of its “Prison Break” lead-in (3.1/8, 7.18).

ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” (5.2/13 in 18-49, 21.81m from 8 to 9:32 p.m.) was up week to week, while “Samantha Who?” (4.3/10, 13.70m) and “The Bachelor” (3.3/9, 8.96m) were in line with the previous week’s results.

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