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CBS cruises on Thursday

Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

Powerful perfs by all three of its programs lifted CBS to an across-the-board ratings victory on the final Thursday of the February sweep, according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen.

“Survivor: Palau” (8.0 rating/20 share in adults 18-49, 21.8 million viewers overall) declined by about 12% from its boffo bow of a week earlier but still easily led its hour over NBC’s “Joey” (3.9/10 in adults 18-49, 10.0 million viewers overall) and “Will & Grace” (4.3/11 in adults 18-49, 9.9 million viewers overall).

Also down in the 8 o’clock hour was Fox’s “The OC” (3.1/8 in adults 18-49, 7.3 million viewers overall), which fell to fourth place in 18-49 behind the first hour of ABC’s solid Peter Jennings spec on UFOs (3.3/8 in adults 18-49, 11.7 million viewers overall).

The Eye’s 9 o’clock drama “CSI” (9.7/22 in adults 18-49, 27.7 million viewers overall) ruled as the night’s No. 1 program, while timeslot rival “The Apprentice” hit series lows (6.5/15 in adults 18-49, 14.1 million viewers overall) and Fox improved nicely in the hour with spec “Stars Without Makeup” (3.1/7 in adults 18-49, 7.4 million viewers overall).

And at 10, NBC drama “ER” (7.6/19 in adults 18-49, 16.0 million viewers overall) saw its demo advantage shrink over CBS’ “Without a Trace” (6.9/17 in adults 18-49, 21.2 million viewers overall) – a 20% year-to-year gain in 18-49 for “Trace” while “ER” hit a firstrun series low. “Trace” also achieved a tie for the hour in adults 25-54 for the fist time (8.3/19).

Preliminary adults 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 8.2/20; NBC, 6.1/15; Fox, 3.1/8; ABC, 2.9/7; UPN, 2.0/5; WB, 0.9/2.

In total viewers: CBS, 23.6 million; NBC, 13.4 million; ABC, 10.0 million; Fox, 7.3 million; UPN, 5.2 million; WB, 2.4 million.

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