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Reality revs ratings

New 'Survivor' lifts CBS as Fox's 'Idol' rolls

In a big week for television’s top-rated shows, “American Idol”-fueled Fox shared the ratings honors with CBS, which revved up with the return of “Survivor.”

Not to be outdone by their unscripted counterparts, both ABC rookie “Desperate Housewives” and CBS vet “CSI” put up more meganumbers to dominate their timeslots.

Overall for the Feb. 14-20 frame, Fox prevailed in adults 18-49 with a 4.4 rating/12 share — a comfortable 2 shares ahead of CBS (3.9/10), ABC (3.9/10) and NBC (3.9/10), according to Nielsen.

CBS led in adults 25-54 (4.9/12) and overwhelmed its rivals in total viewers (13.4 million), while Fox had a lock on the 12-34 aud (4.2/13).

Although it was just a tick out of second, NBC again finished fourth and was down a sharp 25% year-to-year, while ABC was up 18% vs. a year ago — the 12th time in 13 weeks that the Alphabet showed gains from last year.

Editions of “American Idol” on Tuesday (11.5 rating/30 share in adults 18-49, 27.1 million viewers overall) and Wednesday (11.5/27 in 18-49, 26.3 million) were the week’s top two programs in 18-49 as the music talent show continues to perform about on par with last season’s hot pace.

Fox dramas “House” (5.6/14 in 18-49, 14.22m) and “24” (4.9/12, 11.42m) also continue to perform well, and the net got a nice boost from a one-hour Las Vegas-set “Cops” (3.2/10, 7.75m).

CBS was energized by the premiere of “Survivor: Palau” (9.1/23 in 18-49, 23.66m), the best 18-49 start for an edition of the hit reality skein since “Amazon” in 2003. And “CSI” shot up at 9 (10.9/26 in 18-49, 30.72m) — the week’s No. 1 telecast in adults 25-54 (13.1/28) and total viewers.

“CSI: Miami” (6.9/18 in 18-49, 19.35m) and “CSI: NY” (4.9/13, 14.04m) also led their slots, and the net finished the week well with Tom Selleck telepic “Cold Stone” on Sunday (3.7/9 in 18-49, 17.98m).

ABC, second for the week in 18-49 (tied with CBS) and 18-34, was paced by the Sunday tandem of “Desperate Housewives” (11.0/24 in 18-49, 24.18m) and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (7.8/18 in 18-49, 18.27m).

Also chipping in were Wednesday drama “Lost” (6.7/18 in 18-49, 17.87m), Sunday drama “Boston Legal” (5.6/14 in 18-49, 13.62m), and newsmags “Primetime Live” and “20/20” — latter again the week’s top news show in adults 25-54 (3.8/10).

At NBC, “ER” (8.5/21 in 18-49, 17.74m) and “The Apprentice 3” (7.2/17 in 18-49, 15.28m) were top-10 demo performers Thursday despite sluggish perfs by lead-in laffers “Joey” (4.0/11 in 18-49) and “Will & Grace” (4.4/11).

Also, “Medium” remained solid on Monday (5.9/15 in 18-49, 14.52m); a crossover with “Third Watch” lifted “Medical Investigation” to season-high results (3.7/11 in 18-49, 11.37m); and Sunday spec ” ‘Saturday Night Live’: The First Five Years” (4.5/10 in 18-49, 12.19m) was sturdy opposite stiff competish.

It was status quo at the weblets, with the WB, led by “Smallville” and “Gilmore Girls,” topping UPN in adults 18-34 (1.6/5 vs. 1.4/4). UPN was paced by “WWE Smackdown” (2.0/5 in 18-49, 5.24m) and an uptick for “Missy Elliott’s Road to Stardom” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 2.93m), whose finale is set for next week.

“American Idol” rocked for Fox to start the current week, as a special Monday seg dominated its hour, as did Tuesday’s edition.

On Tuesday, “Idol” (11.5/29 in 18-49, 28.25m) led into “House” (6.4/16 in 18-49, 15.53m), which delivered the top regular-slot numbers for a Fox drama in nearly two years.

ABC was above average with 40-minute episodes of some of its laffers, led by “According to Jim” (4.3/11 in 18-49, 10.45m). And that led into a small spike for the penultimate firstrun “NYPD Blue” (3.6/9, 10.60m), although it still lagged NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” (5.5/15, 14.03m).

A special “American Idol” ruled as Monday’s top show (9.9/24 in 18-49, 23.47m), but CBS also did pretty well with a 90-minute “CSI: Miami” (6.7/15 in 18-49, 19.48m)

And the winter finale of “Everwood” performed nicely for the WB (2.1/5 in 18-49, 5.20m).

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