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Golden oldies: ‘CSI,’ ‘ER’ hold luster

Eye web prevails in key ratings categories

ABC’s new “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost” have been the drama stories of the fall season, but a pair of vet hours showed Thursday that they’ve still got the goods.

As the second week of the November sweep kicked off, CBS prevailed again in key ratings categories behind a boffo perf by “CSI,” while NBC was a strong second thanks to a healthy “ER.”

NBC then went on to win another Friday in demos, and ABC and Fox enjoyed success on Saturday.

According to Nielsen nationals, CBS led a hotly contested Thursday over second-place NBC in adults 18-49 (8.3/20 to 7.5/18), adults 25-54 (10.1/22 to 8.2/18) and total viewers (23.4 million vs. 16 million), with the Peacock closing the gap week-to-week.

At 9 o’clock, “CSI” (10.8/25 in adults 18-49, 29.64 million viewers overall) dominated: It will rank as the week’s top program in most categories. CBS also won at 8 with “Survivor: Vanuatu” (7.3/19 in 18-49, 19.99m) and was a solid second in demos and first in total viewers at 10 with “Without a Trace” (6.8/17, 20.46m).

For NBC, a special “real-time” episode of “ER” featuring Ray Liotta (9.4/23 in 18-49, 19.83m) stitched up the show’s best numbers since its Sept. 23 season premiere. “The Apprentice” also remained potent (7.8/18 in 18-49, 16.19m).

In the night’s opening hour, “Joey” was a steady second (5.2/14 in 18-49, 11.69m) and “Will & Grace” (5.4/13, 11.96m) was up a bit to its best scores in four weeks.

Elsewhere on the night, Fox’s “The OC” held up well in its second week (3.6/9 in 18-49, 8.08m), placing third in 18-49 and a close second to “Survivor” in persons 12-34 (5.0/14).

ABC was above average with a repeat of “Saving Private Ryan” (2.6/6 in 18-49, 7.71m) even though affils repping about 30% of the country chose not to air the pic for fear of FCC fines. And the WB had its strongest Thursday of the fall with theatrical “Save the Last Dance” (1.3/3, 3.00m).

On Friday, the Peacock remained perfect in 18-49 on the night this season behind slot-leading “Third Watch” at 9 (prelim 3.0/9 in 18-49, 9.3m) and “Medical Investigation” at 10 (prelim 3.1/9, 8.8m). ABC, meanwhile, had solid results from its comedies, including season highs for anchors “8 Simple Rules” (prelim 2.4/8 in 18-49, 7.7m) and “Hope & Faith” (prelim 2.9/8 in 18-49, 8.2m).

CBS was on the high side of its Friday range, winning in total viewers, thanks to a stronger “Joan of Arcadia” (prelim 2.4/7 in 18-49, 9.3m) and a special repeat of “CSI: NY” at 10 (prelim 2.9/9 in 18-49, 10.1m). Fox isn’t getting anywhere with reality skein “Renovate My Family” (prelim 1.7/5 in 18-49, 3.9m).

ABC won Saturday with a repeat of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (prelim 3.0/9 in 18-49, 8.5m), edging out Fox’s lineup of “Cops” and “America’s Most Wanted,” which combined for a 2.9/9 in 18-49 and 7.7 million viewers.

For ABC, it was its strongest Saturday since February.

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