'Lost,' 'Grey's,' 'Housewives' help net take 2nd

Fully stocked with its core series, ABC surged to a solid second-place finish in most key categories last week, while Fox ruled among young adults for a 16th consecutive week.

Alphabet’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost” stood as the week’s top-rated scripted programs. Only the two editions of Fox’s “American Idol” ranked higher.

Fox has remained undefeated in the prized 18-49 demo since “Idol” bowed in mid-January, although it didn’t have as much breathing room this week. According to Nielsen, the net’s 3.4 rating/9 share topped ABC’s 2.9/8, with CBS third (2.5/7), followed by NBC (2.1/6), Univision (1.6/4), NBA-boosted TNT (1.2/3) and CW (1.1/3).

NBC and Univision both were flat vs. the same week a year ago, while ABC, CBS, Fox and CW all declined by double-digit percentages. Working from a much smaller base, MyNetwork was up 67% (0.5 vs. 0.3).

In other categories, Fox got past ABC for the week’s lead in adults 25-54 (3.7/10 to 3.5/9) and dominated the Alphabet among persons 12-34 (2.9/9 to 2.0/6). CBS (9.24 million) edged out both Fox (9.16 million) and ABC (9.08 million) for the lead in total viewers.

Tuesday’s performance seg of “American Idol” was the week’s top-rated program (9.0/25 in 18-49, 24.74m), with Wednesday’s results show close behind (8.6/21, 23.20m).

Fox was also repped in the top 10 by “Hell’s Kitchen” (4.9/12, 10.98m) and “Family Guy” (4.3/10, 8.42m).

For ABC, “Grey’s Anatomy” (6.5/16 in 18-49, 16.37m) and “Ugly Betty” (2.5/7, 8.52m) both hit season lows in their first original telecasts in three months; “Grey’s Anatomy,” though, was the week’s No. 3 program in 18-49 and teamed with “Lost” in its new 10 o’clock time period (5.3/14, 12.08m) to help the net win Thursday in demos.

Net also was boosted by “Dancing With the Stars” (4.3/11, 18.04m) and its results show (4.2/10, 17.97m), and then remained in control of Sunday with “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (3.9/11, 12.07m), “Desperate Housewives” (5.9/14, 16.35m) and “Brothers & Sisters” (3.8/10, 11.19m).

At CBS, vets “Two and a Half Men” (5.0/12, 13.36m) and “CSI” (4.7/12, 17.02m) led the way, although the latter crime drama hit a season low. Net’s Monday comedy block as a whole is working well, too, including 8:30’s “How I Met Your Mother” (3.7/8, 8.45m) and 9:30’s “Rules of Engagement” (4.1/10, 10.57m).

And “Ghost Whisperer” remains a standout on Friday (2.3/9 in 18-49, 8.98m), winning the night’s leadoff hour by 4 shares in 18-49.

NBC’s generally quiet week had a few highlights, with “Law & Order: SVU” (4.0/11, 11.64m), “The Office” (4.0/10, 7.69m) and “Law & Order” (3.7/10, 12.75m) making the top 20. The original “Law,” featuring the final appearance by Jesse L. Martin, drew its best numbers since January.

CW had its best week since December, as original segs of “Gossip Girl” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 2.50m) and “One Tree Hill” (1.4/3, 2.92m) combined for the net’s highest-rated Monday to date in adults 18-34 (2.0/6).

Stronger start to the week may have helped boost circulation, as Tuesday’s “Reaper” (1.0/3, 2.25m) and Wednesday’s “America’s Next Top Model” (2.1/6, 4.35m) also grew.

At MyNet, original laffer “Under One Roof” hasn’t blown the roof off in the ratings but was up slightly in its second week (0.5/2, 1.27m) and contributed to the net’s highest-rated week yet in female demos.

TNT was the week’s top-rated cable net in demos thanks to six nights of NBA playoff action, led by Tuesday’s San Antonio-Phoenix contest (2.1/6, 4.42m). Through eight nights, the NBA Playoffs on TNT are up about 30% in adults 18-49 and key male demos vs. this time a year ago.

ESPN’s coverage of the NFL Draft was Saturday’s top-rated program — broadcast or cable — in 18-49 (2.4/15) even though it aired in late afternoon. It also averaged 5.03 million viewers overall, a larger aud than any NBA playoff telecast. NFL Network also carried the draft Saturday, pulling in about 500,000 viewers.

USA edged out TNT for the week’s cable lead in total viewers (2.75m vs. 2.73m), boosted by three hours of “WWE Raw” on Monday and Sunday repeats of “House.”

Among cable entertainment programs, the top 18-49 draws were MTV’s “The Hills” (2.4/6) and Discovery’s “Deadliest Catch” (1.7/4).

* * *

One week after placing fourth on the night, Fox moved to a leadership position on Monday of the current week behind the return of “House.” Other broadcasters had reason to cheer as well on what, collectively, was one of their stronger nights in a while.

The first original episode of “House” in nearly three months was Monday’s top-rated program in key demos (5.8 rating/13 share in adults 18-49, 14.64m). While those numbers are lower than what the show had averaged on Tuesday, it repped Fox’s best series performance on a Monday night since the January 2007 season premiere of “24.” Fox also saw “Bones” rise week to week (3.2/9, 9.80m).

CBS laffers “Big Bang Theory” (3.1/9 in 18-49, 8.07m), “How I Met Your Mother” (3.8/10, 8.84m), “Two and a Half Men” (4.8/11, 12.91m) and “Rules of Engagement” (4.0/9, 10.31m) each ran second in their slots among 18-49ers. “Bang” and “Mother” were up week to week, with “Mother” winning at 8:30 in adults 18-34 (3.1/9).

CBS then moved to the lead at 10 o’clock with “CSI: Miami” (3.9/10 in 18-49, 13.88m), though these numbers repped a firstrun season low. 

ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” (4.5/11 in 18-49, 18.22m from 8 to 9:38 p.m.) had its best numbers in a few weeks, even with competition from Fox’s “House.” Net fell off from there, though, with “Samantha Who” (3.1/7 in 18-49, 9.87m from 9:38 to 10:08 p.m.) and “The Bachelor” (2.5/6, 7.17m from 10:08 to 11 p.m.).

NBC ran fourth with “Deal or No Deal” (2.9/7 in 18-49, 9.9 million viewers overall), but “Medium” (3.1/8, 9.68m) again performed solidly at 10 p.m., pulling to within 2 shares of “CSI: Miami” for the demo lead.

At CW, “Gossip Girl” (1.3/3 in 18-49, 2.53m) retained nearly all of its young-adult aud from its week-earlier return, while “One Tree Hill” (1.2/3, 2.57m) was off a bit, no doubt affected by the arrival of “House.”

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