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CBS has its eyes on holiday cheer

Eye, Alphabet win most-improved perfs

Powered by “CSI: Miami” and best-ever results for laffer “Two and a Half Men,” the Eye lashed its rivals on Monday and will take a comfortable November sweeps ratings advantage into the long Thanksgiving weekend.

Surging CBS, winner for the month on Monday and Thursday and substantially improved on Tuesday and Wednesday, is poised to win the November 18-49 crown for the first time. It will also prevail for a second straight year in both adults 25-54 and total viewers, according to Nielsen.

CBS and ABC are the only broadcasters to improve their perf vs. a year ago at this point.

Through Monday night (19 days of the four-week sweep period), CBS led in 18-49 with a 4.6 rating/12 share (up 10% vs. November 2003), followed by NBC (4.1/11, down 7%), ABC (3.9/10, up 8%), Fox (3.0/8, down 3%) and the WB (1.6/4, down 6%) tied with UPN (1.6/4, even).

In adults 25-54, CBS has a 21% advantage over NBC (5.7/14 vs. 4.7/11); in total viewers, the Eye has a huge lead on NBC (14.6 million vs. 10.9m); and the adults 18-34 weblet battle has the WB ahead of UPN (1.7/5 vs. 1.5/5).

On Monday, hot second-year laffer “Two and a Half Men” (6.8/15 in 18-49, 18.94m) achieved new series highs across the board, building by about 10% in demos on its lead-in from “Everybody Loves Raymond” (6.2/14, 18.54m). “Still Standing” (3.6/10 in 18-49, 11.18m) and “Listen Up” (3.6/9, 10.92m) were also on the high end.

At NBC, a special 109-minute “Fear Factor” was solid (5.0/12 in 18-49, 12.13m), and reality miniseries “$25 Million Hoax” wrapped with its best scores but remained underwhelming (4.0/10 in 18-49, 8.70m).

The WB’s “7th Heaven” (2.7/7 in 18-49, 7.52m) had its strongest showing in more than a year, winning the 8 o’clock hour in femmes 12-34 (5.5/16).

Fox’s “Trading Spouses” (3.1/8 in 18-49, 7.70m) was solid at 8, but “The Swan 2” dipped a bit at 9 (2.9/7, 6.92m).

* * *

CBS also reigned supreme in key ratings categories during the Nov. 8-14 frame, including adults 18-49 (4.4/12), adults 25-54 (5.5/13) and total viewers (14.1 million), according to Nielsen.

This is the Eye’s fifth weekly 18-49 triumph of the season — one more than all of last year.

Providing nice boosts were Tuesday’s “NCIS” (record aud of 15.27 million) and two-hour season preem of “The Amazing Race” (5.0/12 in adults 18-49, 11.79 million viewers overall) as well as Wednesday’s conclusion to disaster telepic “Category 6: Day of Destruction” (5.0/13 in 18-49, 16.68m).

And then there was the “CSI” franchise, powered by record numbers for the 100th episode of the original on Thursday (11.6/28 in 18-49, 31.46m). Also easily winning their timeslots were Monday’s “CSI: Miami” (8.4/20 in 18-49, 22.48m) and Wednesday’s “CSI: NY” (6.5/17, 13.80m).

‘Loser’ wins out

NBC edged out ABC for second on the week, winning Tuesday in 18-49 behind the second highest ratings to date for “Law & Order: SVU” (6.4/16 in 18-49, 16.38m) and best-yet results for new unscripted skein “The Biggest Loser” (4.5/12 in 18-49, 10.51m).

Also on the high end were Thursday’s “ER” (9.0/23 in 18-49, 15.76m) and “Will & Grace” (5.5/14, 12.02m), while Friday’s drama combo of “Third Watch” (3.1/10 in 18-49, 10.05m) and “Medical Investigation” (3.3/10 in 18-49, 9.48m) were again demo winners.

ABC claimed four of the week’s top 10 programs in 18-49, paced by Sunday’s “Desperate Housewives” (10.9/24 in 18-49, 24.21m), which was a tick off its series high in the demo, and Wednesday’s “Lost” (6.8/18, 17.64m), which matched its high.

Also setting some season highs were Tuesday comedy “Rodney” (3.8/9 in 18-49, 10.13m) and Sunday’s “Boston Legal” (5.0/12 in 18-49, 12.04m) and “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (3.0/8, 9.10m).

Fox had a pretty quiet week, although its longtime Saturday tandem of “Cops” and “America’s Most Wanted” shined, with the latter apprehending its best numbers in a year and a half (3.3/10 in 18-49, 8.85m).

Also, reality skein “Nanny 911” earned its recent renewal with a second-place 18-49 finish in its competitive Wednesday slot (4.0/10), and Monday’s “The Swan 2” perked up (3.4/8 in 18-49, 7.25m).

It was a tie for the week in adults 18-34 between UPN and the WB (1.8/5), with both down year-to-year.

UPN’s second annual “Vibe Awards” (2.1/5 in 18-49, 5.18m) gave the net its best Tuesday in teens (3.9/11) since the premiere of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” in 2001.

The WB saw some uptick Wednesday for “Jack & Bobby” (1.3/3 in 18-49, 2.83m) but continued to be weighed down by Sunday’s “The Mountain” (0.6/1 in 18-49, 1.42m), which by its second half-hour had crumbled to 16th in its timeslot among adults 18-34 (0.5/1).

Over on cable, pro football lifted ESPN to another primetime victory in 18-49, with TBS (boosted by “The Wizard of Oz” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”) a solid second.

TNT’s original movie “The Wool Cap,” starring William H. Macy, averaged a solid 1.3/3 in 18-49 and 4.17 million viewers overall in its Sunday premiere.

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