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Sweeps a two-net race

'CSI' franchise, 'Survivor,' 'Trace' hot for CBS

Fox and CBS remained the top dogs in the primetime ratings race last week — and both are headed for victory in the May sweep as well.

The “American Idol” locomotive and hot drama “House” kept Fox on top in adults 18-49 for the May 8-14 frame, according to Nielsen, extending its winning streak in the demo to a network-record 12 consecutive weeks. Net’s 4.5 rating/13 share beat CBS (4.0/11) and was well ahead of NBC (3.4/9) and ABC (3.3/9).

Eye net, meanwhile, prevailed in adults 25-54 (5.1/13) for the fourth time in five weeks while winning in total viewers for a ninth straight time (13.2 million).

With just 10 nights to be counted, Fox remains projected to finish the season in first place in adults 18-49 with a 4.1 to a 4.0 for ABC, a 3.8 for CBS and a 3.3 for NBC (Daily Variety, May 3). CBS will win the season in adults 25-54 and total viewers.

Looking at the week, “American Idol” again claimed the top spots in the program rankings with Tuesday’s performance show (11.6/31 in 18-49, 28.85 million viewers overall) and Wednesday’s results show (11.2/27, 27.88m). “House” logged its second best score to date (9.4/23 in 18-49, 24.29m) to rank in the top five in all key categories.

Also boosting Fox were six-week highs for Monday’s “Prison Break” (4.0/11, 9.13m) and “24” (5.7/13, 13.86m) and an easy victory Saturday for a NASCAR race (2.9/11, 7.86m).

At CBS, the finale of “Survivor: Exile Island” on Sunday was the lowest yet for the reality vet (6.2/15 in 18-49, 17.07m), but it significantly improved the net’s showing on the night and won its two-hour block in 25-54 (7.4/16).

Eye also got its usual strong perfs from crime dramas “CSI” (8.4/22, 27.04m), “CSI: Miami” (6.6/17, 19.96m), “CSI: NY” (5.0/13, 15.16m) and “Without a Trace” (5.8/15, 19.19m), with each winning its slot.

NBC moved ahead of ABC for the week thanks to improved scores from vets “Law & Order” (4.2/11, 12.68m), “Will & Grace” (3.6/11, 9.36m) and “The West Wing” (2.9/8, 10.11m), with the latter ending its seven-year run with a season high.

“Deal or No Deal” also contributed by winning all three of its hours, led by Wednesday (4.9/14 in 18-49, 15.54m), and “Las Vegas” came up a winner in its season finale on Friday (3.2/10, 9.76m).

ABC was well represented in the top 10 with “Grey’s Anatomy” (9.7/23, 22.60m), “Desperate Housewives” (8.2/18, 21.03m) and “Lost” (6.9/16, 16.35m), but sputtered across much of the rest of its sked.

Net had mixed results with its sweep stunts early in the week: “David Blaine: Drowned Alive” did well Monday (4.2/11, 10.05m), winning its final half-hour, but Tuesday movie “Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America” was a bust (1.8/5, 5.28m).

The WB had nice showings for the season finales of “7th Heaven” (3.0/8 in 18-49, 7.56m), “Gilmore Girls” (2.4/6, 5.33m) and “Smallville” (2.2/6, 4.85m) but did little elsewhere on the sked. Wednesday’s finale of midseason dud “Bedford Diaries” didn’t even average 1 million viewers.

UPN was paced by “America’s Next Top Model” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 4.85m) and the one-hour season finale of “Girlfriends” (1.7/4, 3.47m).

With the NBA Playoffs airing four nights, TNT was the easy leader in 18-49 among ad-supported cable nets (1.05 rating). Through its first 31 postseason telecasts this spring, the net is up across the board vs. last year, including a 9% gain in the key men 18-34 demo.

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