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Eye pulls down Sox

Hot net prevails over baseball-boosted Fox

CBS continued its hot start to the season last week by notching another victory in key demos, while NBC found itself in unfamiliar territory — fourth place.

The Eye remains the biggest year-to-year gainer among broadcasters through the first six weeks of the season (ABC is the only other web up), last week prevailing in adults 18-49 (4.2/11) over World Series-boosted Fox (4.0/11) and the Alphabet (3.9/11), according to estimates by Nielsen Media Research.

CBS also cruised in adults 25-54 (5.1/12) and total viewers (13.5 million) and is a comfy season leader in these categories as well.

But the news isn’t so good for NBC, which ran fourth in 18-49 (3.5/9) for the first time since April 2001 (“DAG” and the XFL). Frosh skeins “Father of the Pride” and “LAX” both fell to new lows, and the net (whose Thursday vets “Will & Grace” and “ER” were in repeats) was repped in the top 10 among adults 18-49 by only “The Apprentice.”

Season-to-date, NBC is tied with ABC for third in the key demo of adults 18-49 (3.8/10), with the Peacock down 12% and the Alphabet up 6%. CBS has risen by 11% to pull within one tick of first-place Fox (4.0/11 vs. 4.1/11).

Overall, the final two games of the World Series on Fox ranked among the week’s top five programs. And while CBS drama “CSI” reasserted itself as the No. 1 series on television, ABC’s hot “Desperate Housewives” is a strong No. 2 and achieved another high (9.8/23 in adults 18-49, 22.14 million viewers overall).

“CSI,” one of seven CBS programs in the week’s top 15 in adults 18-49, had its best showing since premiere week (10.4/25 in 18-49, 29.60m). Lead-out “Without a Trace,” airing opposite a repeat “ER” (5.9/16, 12.72m), followed with its best scores ever (7.5/20 in 18-49, 22.06m).

Also, “CSI: Miami” remains hot on Monday (8.2/20 in 18-49, 21.91m), “Two and a Half Men” was the week’s No. 1 comedy (6.1/14, 17.25m), and Wednesday’s “CSI: NY” (5.2/13, 12.98m) again bested NBC’s “Law & Order” in demos (4.3/11, 13.23m) — although “NY’s” 18-49 score was the lowest for the “CSI” franchise since an episode of the original on a Friday in December 2000.

The Eye also improved its standing by adding two more crime hours to its sked (an extra “NCIS” in place of “Clubhouse” on Tuesday and an extra “48 Hours Mystery” on Saturday) and got a boost from a 34-minute NFL overrun on Sunday (8.5/26 in 18-49, 23.39m for Steelers-Patriots, the highest-rated football game on any net this fall).

Big football showing lifted “60 Minutes” to its best demo deliveries since last December (5.4/15 in 18-49, 6.7/16 in 25-54) and its largest overall aud (19.70m) since March 2000.

And new comedy “Center of the Universe” (4.0/9 in 18-49, 10.38m) looked solid in its Wednesday bow.

ABC had a nice week, meanwhile, with contributions from every night but Thursday, where “Life as We Know It” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 3.77m) is struggling.

On Tuesday, “According to Jim” logged its best numbers since last winter (4.9/12 in 18-49, 11.81m) and lead-out rookie comedy “Rodney” also hit season highs (4.2/10, 10.05m), retaining a solid 86% of “Jim” and defeating NBC’s competing comedy “Scrubs” (3.0/7 in 18-49, 6.94m) by its largest margins yet. Friday comedies “8 Simple Rules” and “Complete Savages” also hit season highs, as Halloween-themed laffers worked well.

Wednesday saw “Lost” remain very strong (6.4/17 in 18-49, 16.83m) and “Wife Swap” remain potent at 10 (4.2/10m 9.44m), and the premiere of theatrical “Monsters, Inc.” (2.8/9, 8.09m) helped the net win Saturday.

And then there’s “Desperate Housewives,” which hit new highs in key male demos and adults 18-49 — topping the combined scores of CBS, NBC, Fox and the WB in the latter.

For the third time this season, ABC won the week in 18-34 (3.3/10).

NBC was paced by “The Apprentice” (7.7/19 in 18-49, 15.75m) and also had a good showing by Tuesday’s “Law & Order: SVU” (5.3/13, 13.01m) and “The Biggest Loser” (3.7/10, 9.03m) and Sunday’s “Crossing Jordan” (4.4/12 in 18-49, 12.69m).

Looking frail were rookies “LAX” on Wednesday (1.8/5 in 18-49, 6.34m) and “Father of the Pride” on Tuesday (2.8/7, 6.64m).

For Fox, the week pretty much ended Wednesday when the World Series wrapped early. Filler programming the rest of the week, including Sunday’s preem of “X-Files: Fight the Future” (1.3/3 in 18-49, 3.28m), produced tepid results.

Wednesday’s contest, in which the Boston Red Sox captured their first World Series title in 86 years, delivered the Fall Classic’s best Game 4 ratings (10.0/26 in 18-49, 28.84m) in nine years.

The WB topped UPN in adults 18-34 (1.8/6 vs. 1.6/5), with the former getting more good results from Tuesday’s “One Tree Hill” (2.1/5 in 18-49, 4.57m) — the season’s fastest-growing sophomore skein — and season highs from Thursday’s “Blue Collar TV” and “Drew Carey’s Green Screen.”

UPN was paced by the Wednesday tandem of “America’s Next Top Model” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 5.05m) and promising new drama “Kevin Hill” (1.8/4, 4.04m).

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