Big events on Sunday helped NBC and CBS claim narrow primetime demo victories last week, while ABC’s heavyweight series continued to shine.
The atypical Jan. 10-16 frame, which included NBC’s coverage of the Golden Globe Awards and substantial weekend football boosts for Fox and CBS, was one of the tightest of the season, according to Nielsen. All four broadcasters were within four-tenths of a ratings point in adults 18-49, with the Peacock’s 4.5/11 share edging the Eye’s 4.4/11.
Order was reversed in adults 25-54, with CBS nosing out NBC (5.4/12 vs. 5.3/12). CBS led rather easily, as usual, in total viewers (13.9 million).
NBC’s second victory of the season in adults 18-49 was paced by strong 10 o’clock drama perfs by Thursday’s “ER” (8.3/21 in 18-49, 18.42 million viewers overall), Tuesday’s “Law & Order: SVU” (6.5/17, 15.94m) and Monday frosh “Medium” (6.3/15, 16.34m). Latter is looking good, with a sturdy second-place showing on Monday of the current week (7.7/18, 21.7 million) opposite an original seg of CBS’ “CSI: Miami” (5.8/14, 14.5m), according to Nielsen prelims.
Also, Tuesday’s “Biggest Loser” finale won its 8-9:30 slot in demos (5.9/15 in 18-49, 13.72m) with the net’s best showing there with regular programming in nearly three years, while rookie drama “Medical Investigation” (3.1/9 in 18-49, 9.29m) was Friday’s No. 1 show in 18-49. And although the Golden Globes may have posted its smallest numbers since coming to NBC (5.7/13 in 18-49, 16.84m), kudocast gave the net its best Sunday of the season.
NBC’s weekly average does not include Saturday’s two-hour commercial-free broadcast of “Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope.” An estimated 19.5 million viewers watched all or some of the telecast across all NBC Universal nets (NBC, USA, Sci Fi, Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC, Pax and Telemundo).
Over at CBS, “CSI” dominated its Thursday hour (9.6/24 in 18-49, 27.55m), stood in the top three for the week in key demos and was the week’s most-watched primetime program overall. Doing OK but nothing near “Survivor” numbers is “CSI’s” temporary lead-in, unscripted domestic-diva series “Wickedly Perfect” (3.0/8 in 18-49, 9.16m).
The Eye also enjoyed stronger-than-usual weekend numbers thanks to NFL playoffs lead-ins: Its crimetime Saturday lineup hit a season high, and a special 9 o’clock seg of Sunday drama “Cold Case” (4.2/9 in 18-49, 15.67m) more than held its own opposite tough competish. “Cold” benefited from a huge tune-in to CBS from 7-8 p.m. ET for the conclusion of the New England Patriots’ victory over the Indianapolis Colts (13.1/34 in 18-49, 34.57m) .
ABC received more boffo numbers for its Wednesday and Sunday hits, with “Desperate Housewives” (11.1/24 in 18-49, 24.09m) and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (9.0/20, 20.41m) both easily topping NBC’s competing Golden Globes on Sunday. And the combo of “Lost” (7.9/21, 20.81m) and “Alias” (5.9/14, 13.90m) ruled Wednesday, with the former hitting series highs in male demos and teens (4.1/13).
Friday is looking pretty good, with opening-hour laffers “8 Simple Rules” (2.5/8 in 18-49, 8.43m) and “Complete Savages” (2.4/7, 6.92m) hitting slot highs as ABC won the night in 18-49 for the fifth time in six weeks.
Fox dominated Saturday with the Atlanta Falcons-St. Louis Rams primetime NFL game (9.6/27 in 18-49, 23.70m) and got more good results from Monday’s “24” (5.3/12 in 18-49, 13.34m in its regular slot) and Wednesday’s “Nanny 911” (4.1/10, 9.83m).
UPN’s “Road to Stardom With Missy Elliott” perked up in its second week on Wednesday (1.4/4 in 18-49, 3.36m), building on its premiere by 21% in adults 18-34 (to 1.7/5).
It was a quiet week on cable, with “Law & Order”-fueled TNT leading the pack in 18-49 (0.87 rating). On Sunday, TV Guide Channel had reason to cheer: Although the overall ratings are small, its pre-Golden Globes show (now hosted by Joan and Melissa Rivers) grew sharply, closing the gap some with E!’s coverage. On Monday of the current week, “Golden Globes Fashion Wrap,” hosted by the Riverses, set records for the year-old net by averaging 809,000 viewers.