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B’casters sweep up

CBS, ABC drive growth after opening week

Thanks to potent perfs Wednesday, ABC and CBS have the best stories to tell after the opening week of the November sweep — but so, too, does broadcast television overall.

Alphabet, with “Lost” leading the way, captured Wednesday in most key ratings categories, while CBS rode nice showings by “CSI: NY” and “King of Queens” to a solid second-place finish.

CBS and ABC are the only two broadcast nets up vs. the opening week of the November sweep a year ago in key demos, but netlets the WB and UPN are roughly flat and both NBC and Fox’s declines are in the single-digit percentages, according to Nielsen.

As a result, for the first time in several years, the combined six-net 18-49 averages in the first week of the November sweep (19.0 rating/50 share) is ahead of the previous year (18.3/49).

CBS leads the pack in adults 18-49 (4.7/12), adults 25-54 (5.8/14) and total viewers (14.9 million), while ABC has moved from a distant third-place standing of a year ago into a tie with NBC for second this time around.

Through Wednesday, the 18-49 Nielsen averages: CBS, 4.7 rating/12 share (up 15% in rating vs. a year ago); NBC, 4.1/11 (down 9%), tied with ABC, 4.1/11 (up 17%); Fox (2.9/8, down 6%); UPN, 1.6/4 (even), tied with the WB, 1.6/4 (up 7%).

In adults 18-34, UPN’s 1.8/6 is ahead of the WB’s 1.6/5, with both nets on par with last year.

On the first Wednesday of the sweep, ABC’s “Lost” (6.8/18 in adults 18-49, 18.44 million viewers overall) matched its series high in 18-49 and stood as the top-rated program of the night for the fifth straight week.

Net continues to lag at 9 with “The Bachelor” (3.9/9 in 18-49, 9.69m) but again picked things up at 10 with “Wife Swap” (4.8/12 in 18-49, 11.80m), which edged out in 18-49 NBC’s “Law & Order” (4.7/12, 15.15m) and was the hour’s No. 1 choice among women 18-34 (5.8/16).

At CBS, “CSI: NY” (6.1/16 in 18-49, 15.38m) won at 10 over NBC’s “Law,” and 9 o’clock laffer “King of Queens” (4.9/12 in 18-49, 12.74m) led its slot in for the second week in a row. Frosh 9:30 comedy “Center of the Universe” (4.1/10 in 18-49, 11.03m) retained a solid 84% of that lead-in.

NBC was led by “Law & Order,” but received another nice delivery at 9 from “West Wing” (4.5/11 in 18-49, 15.26m), which was up 18% vs. the same night a year ago. It tied CBS for the hour’s 18-49 lead and won outright in 25-54 (5.9/13) and total viewers.

At 8, NBC’s “LAX” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 7.16m) took a step back after a better outing a week earlier, tying CBS’ “60 Minutes” for fifth in 18-49.

Fox remained fourth on the night but its lineup of comedies and reality skein “Nanny 911” were up week-to-week. “Nanny” (4.1/10 in 18-49, 8.73m) beat “The Bachelor” in 18-49 and will likely finish the week as the net’s highest-rated hour in the demo.

“America’s Next Top Model” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 5.60m) and “Kevin Hill” (1.6/4, 3.45m) gave UPN a third-place finish in women 18-34 (3.7/9), with the former drawing its largest overall aud of the season.

The WB’s “Smallville” (2.6/7 in 18-49, 5.52m) was strong as usual, but “Jack & Bobby” (1.1/3, 2.52m) retained a soft 54% of its 12-34 lead-in.

Spike’s Ben Silverman’s reality skein “The Club” didn’t do much (0.4/1 in 18-49, 0.81m), faring slightly better than Tuesday’s “I Hate My Job.”

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