NBC still must-see

'Friends,' 'ER,' other dramas boost Peacock

No “Apprentice,” no problem for NBC, which continued its strong season-closing run with another victory in key demo categories last week.

One week after reality sensation “The Apprentice” wrapped with boffo numbers, NBC stayed on top in the adults 18-49 demo for a fourth straight week, thanks to its still-stout Thursday bookends “Friends” and “ER.”

The Peacock’s 4.1 rating/12 share in adults 18-49 held off Fox’s (3.8/11) and was well ahead of both CBS (3.2/9) and ABC (2.6/8), according to Nielsen in-home viewing estimates for the week of April 19-25.

NBC also led with ease in adults 25-54 (4.8/12), while CBS prevailed as usual in total viewers (11.7 million).

“Friends,” airing the first of its final three original episodes, was the week’s No. 1 show in adults 18-49 (10.3/31), edging out Fox’s Tuesday edition of “American Idol” (10.1/29). Latter was the frame’s most-watched show overall, averaging 23.4 million viewers.

Also for NBC, vet medical hour “ER” was the week’s No. 1 drama in 18-49 (9.5/25), and other dramas including “Law & Order” (5.8/15), “Law & Order: SVU” (4.9/13), “Las Vegas” (4.9/12) and “Crossing Jordan” (4.0/10) also led their hours in demos.

“Dateline” continues to perform well on Friday, too, as a two-hour edition (3.2/11 in 18-49, 11.20m) combined with “Third Watch” (3.5/11 in 18-49, 9.73m) to help the net win the night with ease. On the downer side, viewers didn’t make many reservations for “The Restaurant,” as the reality skein returned to the sked with soft numbers Monday at 10.

Fox was paced by dominant segs of “American Idol” on Tuesday and Wednesday, and also did well with the dramas leading out of them — “24” (4.9/12 in 18-49) and “The OC” (4.7/12), respectively.

Monday makeover skein “The Swan” (4.4/11 in 18-49) also is proving to be a nice addition to the sked, winning its 9 o’clock hour among young women and teens.

First-year laffer “Arrested Development” ended its season Sunday with another fourth-place finish among the broadcast nets (2.4/6 in 18-49).

Over at CBS, “Survivor: All-Stars” continues to put up good numbers (7.6/22 in 18-49, 20.99m) as it nears its May 9 finale, and a special “48 Hours” on Saturday, focusing on the Texas woman who stabbed her husband 193 times in self-defense, delivered nice slot gains (2.2/7 in 18-49, 7.73m).

Net also drew big auds Sunday for “Cold Case” (14.83m) and Hallmark Hall of Fame pic “Plainsong” (15.35m) and received strong, nearly identical numbers from an original “CSI: Miami” on Monday (7.3/19 in 18-49, 21.02m) and a repeat of “CSI” on Thursday (7.3/19 in 18-49, 21.12m). They were the week’s two most-watched dramas overall.

ABC, fourth for the week in 18-49 and third in 18-34, was paced by a strong showing Wednesday by “The Bachelor” (slot-leading 5.3/13 in 18-49, 11.95m) and a hybrid episode of “Extreme Makeover” featuring previously aired segments (4.3/12 in 18-49, 9.54m).

Alphabet also has a winning one-two reality punch on Sunday with “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (2.7/9 in 18-49, 8.26m) and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (4.3/12 in 18-49, 10.38m), the latter of which finished a tick behind an hour of Fox’s “The Simpsons” among 18-49.

The WB, riding season highs for “One Tree Hill” (Daily Variety, April 22), easily topped UPN for fifth place in the adults 18-34 category that both target (1.6/5 vs. 1.0/3).

UPN’s reality series “I’m Still Alive” is doing OK on Wednesday, growing a bit from its weak “Enterprise” lead-in among adults 18-34 (1.1/3 vs. 0.8/3).

Among ad-supported cable nets, three primetime games of the NBA Playoffs lifted TNT to the top of the rankings in adults 18-49, with its 1.1 rating tying UPN for sixth place in primetime. Net also led in total viewers and all male demos, while Lifetime topped the list among women 18-49.

Sunday’s season preem of MTV’s “Punk’d” was the top entertainment skein of the week in both adults 18-49 (2.1/5) and 18-34 (3.4/10), besting ABC, CBS and NBC in the latter during its 10:30 half-hour. Also Sunday, TLC did well with the season finale of “Trading Spaces: Home Free,” which pulled down 7 shares in femme demos and averaged 4.08 million viewers overall.

Outside of primetime, the National Football League draft scored in the ratings for ESPN on Saturday, as the opening day of the two-day event averaged a best-yet 4.18 million viewers. From 1 to 3:45 p.m. ET, the draft easily won its head-to-head matchup with the Miami-Charlotte pro basketball playoff game on TNT, 4.8 million to 1.0 million.

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