Eclectic mix drives Eye in all key demos

Storms, sleuths and songs equal successful sweeps

A fictional natural disaster wreaking havoc on the Midwest combined last week with some forensic sleuths and country crooners to lift CBS to its most convincing ratings victory of the season.

While each of the other five broadcasters was flat or down slightly year-to-year among young adults, CBS was up a nifty 20%.

Eight weeks into the season and nearly halfway through the November sweep, the Eye net is the clear leader in the demo most prized by advertisers — adults 18-49 — as well as its strongest-charted categories of adults 25-54 and total viewers.

Last week, all three editions of the “CSI” franchise dominated their time periods, joining Thursday’s “Without a Trace” and “Survivor: Vanuatu” and Sunday movie “Category 6: Day of Destruction” among the week’s top 10 in adults 18-49.

Also, Tuesday’s “Country Music Assn. Awards” and Monday laffer “Two and a Half Men” cracked the top 15 as CBS enjoyed success on every night but Saturday.

Overall, according to Nielsen estimates, CBS captured the Nov. 8-14 frame in adults 18-49 (4.8/13), adults 25-54 (6.0/14) and total viewers (15 million) — with its 14% advantage over runner-up NBC in adults 18-49 (4.2/11) the net’s largest advantage on record for a November sweep week.

ABC ran third in 18-49 (3.9/10), with Fox well behind in fourth (3.2/8).

Through Monday of the current week, which saw “CSI: Miami” and “Two and a Half Men” shine (see below), CBS is the leader of the November sweep in adults 18-49 with a 4.7 rating/12 share (up 9% in rating vs. a year ago), followed by NBC (4.1/11, down 9%), ABC (4.0/11, up 18%), Fox (3.0/8, up 3%), the WB (1.6/4, even) and UPN (1.5/4, down 6%).

In adults 25-54, the CBS advantage is a healthy 23% over second-place NBC (5.8/14 vs. 4.7/11), and in total viewers it’s a runaway (14.9 million vs. 10.8 million for second-place Peacock).

By comparison, the Eye’s 4.8 rating in adults 18-49 (roughly 6.3 million viewers) topped the six highest-rated cable networks combined. Coincidentally, one of those six, Spike, is on the rise thanks primarily to repeats of CBS’ No. 1 program, “CSI.”

Leading the way as usual for CBS was Thursday heavyweight “CSI” (10.8/25 in adults 18-49, 29.64 million viewers overall), the week’s — and the season’s — top-rated program in 18-49, 25-54 and total viewers.

Also, a special 90-minute “CSI: Miami” rocked on Monday (8.1/20 in 18-49, 22.09m), Tuesday’s 38th annual “CMAs” (5.9/15, 18.46m) gave the net its strongest Tuesday demos in three years and Sunday’s opener of two-part disaster pic “Category 6” (6.3/14 in 18-49, 19.35m) came through with CBS’ strongest demos for a scripted movie since “Jesus” in May 2000.

Sunday soph drama “Cold Case” warmed up to its best scores to date (4.8/11 in 18-49, 18.43m).

NBC ran second in most categories for the week, getting nice contributions from Thursday’s “ER” (9.4/23 in 18-49, 19.83m) and “The West Wing” (4.5/11 in 18-49, 15.26m), while a handful of other shows, including “American Dreams,” “Fear Factor” and “Las Vegas,” hit season highs in 18-49.

Also, Friday’s “Medical Investigation” (3.1/9 in 18-49, 8.94m) notched another 18-49 victory despite increased competish, and Tuesday’s weight-loss skein “The Biggest Loser” was again solid (4.1/10 in 18-49, 10.00m).

ABC remained competitive — and won the week in viewers 12-34 — even with megahit “Desperate Housewives” making way Sunday for the “American Music Awards” (5.7/13, 12.91m), which topped the ratings of its previous three telecasts and helped the Alphabet tie for the night’s 18-49 lead.

“NYPD Blue” hit season highs (3.7/9 in 18-49, 10.76m), as did the net’s Friday laffers, led by “Hope & Faith” (2.9/8, 8.20m). And although the fear of Federal Communications Commission fines took it off the air in about 30% of the country, a Veterans Day repeat of “Saving Private Ryan” gave the net its best Thursday of the season (2.6/6, 7.71m).

Fox didn’t have much to get excited about, although Thursday’s “The OC” (3.6/9 in 18-49, 8.08m) retained most of its premiere-week aud and Wednesday’s “Nanny 911” (4.1/10 in 18-49, 8.73m) remains perky. Not faring well was Tuesday’s two-hour preem of Richard Branson’s “Rebel Billionaire” (2.3/6 in 18-49, 5.09m).

The WB topped UPN in 18-34 for the week (1.8/5 vs. 1.5/4), with both nets down about 10% year-to-year.

Frog’s Tuesday (“One Tree Hill” and the resurgent “Gilmore Girls”) is up sharply year-to-year, making up for the net’s struggles with first-year dramas “Jack & Bobby” and “The Mountain.” Sunday’s “Mountain” crumbled to a 10th-place finish for its hour in adults 18-34 (0.7/2).

For UPN, new dramas “Veronica Mars” and “Kevin Hill” and the relocated “Enterprise” are providing timeslot improvements, but Thursday’s “WWE Smackdown” and the net’s Monday comedies are down.

ESPN led the ad-supported cable nets for the week (1.06 rating in 18-49), paced by Sunday’s National Football League game between the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills (3.4/8 in 18-49, 7.78m).

Court TV achieved a milestone Friday, as its coverage of the Scott Peterson verdict (4-5 p.m. ET) averaged a net-best 2.66 million viewers.

* * *

On Monday of the current week, CBS received season-high results from both “CSI: Miami” (8.4/20 in 18-49, 22.48m) and “Two and a Half Men” (6.4/15, 17.47m) following the 200th episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond” (6.0/14, 17.80m).

Eye success translated to latenight, too, as “The Late Show With David Letterman” edged out NBC’s “Tonight Show With Jay Leno” in metered-market overnights (5.0/12 vs. 4.8/11). And “The Late Late Show,” with guest host D.L. Hughley, delivered a season-high 2.2/8 in the overnights.

Elsewhere, NBC’s “Fear Factor” led at 8 in demos (4.3/11 in 18-49, 10.85m), but is looking a bit tired. Fox’s “The Swan 2” picked up slightly (3.4/8, 7.26m) even as lead-in “Trading Spouses” dipped (3.2/8, 7.50m).

ABC’s “Monday Night Football” (7.1/19 in 18-49, 17.11m) was on the high end with its Dallas Cowboys-Philadelphia Eagles contest. NBC’s “$25 Million Dollar Hoax” (2.7/7 in 18-49, 6.05m) was down in its second week.

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