ABC, CBS finish neck and neck in ratings

Just as they have been battling all fall, ABC and CBS finished neck and neck in the last full week of November, with football again playing a key role in the holiday frame.

The Alphabet dominated Saturday with a college pigskin contest, while the Eye got a lift from a lengthy NFL overrun on Sunday. And it was NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears that stood as the week’s top program in key demos.

The Nov. 24-30 frame included the final three nights of the November sweep, which saw ABC edge past CBS among adults 18-49 for its fourth straight victory in the month (Daily Variety, Nov. 26). The Eye made it six straight November victories in both adults 25-54 and total viewers.

Ratings dropped off midweek as is usual for Thanksgiving week, with no firstrun scripted shows airing on Thursday. And on the eve of the holiday, NBC struck out with spec “Rosie Live” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 5.02m), a Rosie O’Donnell-fronted variety show that featured guests like Alec Baldwin, Harry Connick Jr. and Liza Minnelli.

Overall last week, ABC and CBS both logged a 2.9 rating/8 share, followed by NBC (2.4/7) and Fox (2.3/6). The Eye held a slight edge on the Alphabet in adults 25-54 (3.7/9 to 3.6/9) and total viewers (11.0 million to 10.3 million).

After “Sunday Night Football” (6.1/14 in 18-49, 15.92m), the top telecast in 18-49 was ABC Sunday sudser “Desperate Housewives” (5.7/12, 15.81m), while the program drawing the most viewers overall was ABC’s final performance program of “Dancing With the Stars” (21.10 million) on Monday.

“Dancing” also logged big numbers for its two-hour finale on Tuesday (5.1/13 in 18-49, 20.65m), though it continued to trend below recent editions.

For CBS, a 41-minute NFL overrun on Sunday led into “60 Minutes” (4.5/11, 18.64m), which ranked in the top 10 for the week in 18-49 and No. 3 in total viewers.

The Eye also claimed the week’s top three half-hour sitcoms in Monday’s “Two and a Half Men” (5.3/12, 14.95m), “How I Met Your Mother” (4.3/11, 9.96m) and “The Big Bang Theory” (3.9/10, 10.03m).

CBS also claimed the top program on Thanksgiving eve with “Criminal Minds” (3.4/10 in 18-49, 14.11m) and on the holiday itself with “Survivor” (2.3/7, 8.31m).

Aside from “Sunday Night Football,” NBC’s lone representative in the week’s top 20 among 18-49ers was Monday drama “Heroes” at No. 15 (3.5/8, 7.51m), which settled for a third-place finish in its Monday hour.

Fox, without any football boost, finished fourth (but just a tick behind NBC), paced by Tuesday dramas “House” (5.2/14, 12.88m) and “Fringe” (3.4/9, 7.70m).

MyNetwork moved ahead of CW for the first time in most categories, including 18-49 (0.6/1 vs. 0.5/1) and total viewers (1.9 million vs. 1.3 million). Former was led by “WWE Friday Night Smackdown” (1.3/4, 3.78m) but also got some help from Wednesday’s “World Magic Awards” (0.6/2, 2.18m).

On the cable side, ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” matchup between the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers led the way (4.3/11 in 18-49, 11.38m), ranking among the week’s top 10 shows overall.

Sunday saw MTV score sizable numbers for its docu “Britney: For the Record” (2.1/5 in 18-49, 3.77m), which hit a 3.3/9 in adults 18-34, and E!’s “Girls Next Door” hit a season high (1.1/3, 1.96m) on the same night.

Also of note, a new 90-minute spec “The White House: Behind Closed Doors” on History averaged 2.8 million viewers in its debut Wednesday.

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