ABC's reality show tops primetime ratings

Thanksgiving distractions kept a good chunk of viewers for its midweek skeins from tuning in, but ABC still had enough to claim victory for the last full week of November.

Despite lower than usual ratings for shows like “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice” and “Ugly Betty,” the Alphabet prevailed among young adults for the sixth time in nine weeks this fall. Net is also positioned well to claim the November sweep, which ends tonight, in the key 18-49 demo.

Football again played a big part in the week’s ratings race, with ABC benefiting from a strong college game on Saturday, CBS getting a significant lift with a lengthy NFL overrun on Sunday, and NBC hitting season highs with its pro game on Sunday.

The Peacock’s “Sunday Night Football” matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and undefeated New England Patriots was the week’s No. 1 telecast in adults 18-49 (8.6 rating/20 share), while ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” drew the most viewers overall (22.85 million), edging out football’s 21.81 million.

Overall, according to Nielsen nationals that include same-day DVR playback, ABC led in adults 18-49 with a 3.6 rating/10 share, followed by CBS and NBC (both at 3.3/9), with Fox pulling up the rear (2.5/7).

The Alphabet edged out the Eye in adults 25-54 (4.3/11 to 4.2/10) but CBS enjoyed a similarly small advantage in overall total viewers (11.7 million to 11.6 million). NBC sneaked ahead of ABC to win in persons 12-34.

For ABC, “Pushing Daisies” (2.2/7 in 18-49, 7.48m), “Private Practice” (2.7/7, 8.54m) and “Dirty Sexy Money” (2.0/6, 6.37m) were all well below average on Wednesday, though “Daisies” remained in control of its hour among the 18-49 crowd.

The net’s young and female-skewing fare was also most affected on Thanksgiving Thursday, where “Ugly Betty” (2.2/7, 7.49m) and “Grey’s Anatomy” (5.1/14, 14.11m) declined sharply week to week. (ABC was already planning to run repeats of “Betty” and “Grey’s” this week, but it was unclear if the net now plans to air last week’s episodes to give auds a chance to catch up.)

“Dancing With the Stars” scored big on both Monday (5.6/14 in 18-49, 22.85m) and Tuesday (season-best 5.0/12, 20.96m) for the results show. Net also did well with the finale of “The Bachelor” on Monday (4.2/11, 11.22m) and its “After the Final Rose” spec on Tuesday (4.1/11, 12.30m), with the latter winning its hour.

On Saturday, the most meaningful college football game in the 115-year rivalry of Missouri and Kansas — two top-5 teams — gave the net its best showing on the night in one year (3.6/11 in 18-49, 10.96m). And Sunday was led by “Desperate Housewives” (7.0/15, 18.64m) and the 100th episode of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (5.0/11, 15.03m).

CBS held up a bit better in midweek with its lineup skewing older and more male. “Criminal Minds” and “CSI: NY” won easily on Wednesday, as did a “Survivor” clip show (3.6/11, 11.58m) and “Without a Trace” on Thursday. Also Thursday, “CSI” (4.2/12, 14.75m) ran second to ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” in demos but edged out the medical drama in total viewers.

Other highlights included Monday’s 9-11 p.m. block of “Two and a Half Men” (5.0/12 in 18-49, 13.91m), “Rules of Engagement” (4.2/10, 11.48m) and “CSI: Miami” (4.9/12, 15.83m), and Tuesday’s slot-winning “NCIS” (3.6/10, 17.34m).

CBS also closed the week with a hearty 8.2 rating among adults 18-49 for its roughly 55-minute NFL overrun on Sunday (Broncos-Bears).

Sunday was also a big football night for NBC, as its Eagles-Patriots game (8.6/20 in 18-49, 21.81m) was more competitive than expected and matched the second-best score in the two years of the net’s “Sunday Night Football.”

“Heroes” was NBC’s top entertainment program (5.1/12, 10.80m), ranking sixth for the week in 18-49. Net also programmed the holiday well with theatricals “The Incredibles” on Thursday (2.4/7, 6.56m) and “The Family Man” on Friday (2.3/7, 7.12m).

Fox had a quiet week, but could count as always on Tuesday’s “House” (6.8/17, 16.89m). Old reliables “The Simpsons” (4.1/10, 9.01m) and “Family Guy” (4.7/10, 9.52m) also hung in there Sunday despite the tougher football competish.

And CW was just a blip on the screen, led by “Friday Night Smackdown” (1.7/5, 5.09m) but hampered by anemic results on Thursday (with movie “Raise Your Voice”) and Sunday (with repeats and the ineffective “CW Now.”)

ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” contest between Denver and Tennessee was the week’s top program on cable (3.9/10 in 18-49, 9.62m), but another standout was MTV’s “The Hills” on Monday (2.6/6, 4.29m). Latter earned a whopping 7.2/17 in women 18-34, easily topping head-to-head ABC’s finale of “The Bachelor” (4.5/10).

And of note Wednesday was Cartoon Network’s live-action movie “Ben 10: Race Against Time,” which set a net record in total viewers (3.99 million) as well as key kid demos.

* * *

On Monday of this week, “Dancing With the Stars” scored huge numbers for its final performance show of this edition (prelim 6.2/15 in 18-49, 24.7 million viewers overall), but the net’s momentum faded as the night went on.

Rookie laffer “Samantha Who” did OK in its bow at 9 o’clock (prelim 4.1/9 in 18-49, 12.6 million), but finished well behind competing CBS comedy “Two and a Half Men” (prelim 5.0/11 in 18-49, 15.3 million).

ABC then looked shaky with the second-season preems of laffer “Notes From the Underbelly” at 9:30 p.m. (prelim 2.9/7 in 18-49, 8.3 million) and drama “October Road” at 10 (prelim 2.3/6 in 18-49, 6.0 million).

NBC had good news for its 8-10 p.m. drama block, as “Chuck” (prelim 3.3/8 in 18-49, 8.4 million) posted its best numbers in six weeks, and “Heroes” (prelim 5.3/12 in 18-49, 11.9 million) its best in eight weeks. “Journeyman” continues to be the weak link in the lineup (prelim 2.5/6 in 18-49, 6.2 million), although it too was up vs. recent weeks.

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