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Nets spread wealth Monday

Morning Ratings Flash -- Rick Kissell

CBS, NBC and Fox each had something to cheer about in Monday’s ratings race, with the three nets finishing neck-and-neck for the night’s lead among young adults, according to preliminary Nielsen nationals.

NBC started off strong as usual with an episode of “Deal or No Deal” (first-place 4.8 rating/14 share in adults 18-49, 15.3 million viewers overall) in which a contestant walked away with a record prize from the show, $464,000. Net then fell to third at 9 with “The Apprentice 5” (4/10 in 18-49, 10 million viewers overall), followed by a second-place finish for drama “Medium” (3.7/10 in 18-49, 9.7 million viewers overall).

Fox was again solid at 8 with first-year drama “Prison Break” (3.6/10 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall) and moved to the demo lead at 9 with “24” (5.1/13 in 18-49, 12.8 million viewers overall). Thriller remains up nearly 15% in 18-49 vs. its average at the same point last season.

CBS was paced by “CSI: Miami” (6/16 in 18-49, 18.2 million viewers overall), the night’s No. 1 program, and “Two and a Half Men” (4.7/12 in 18-49, 14.7 million viewers overall). In between at 9:30, “The New Adventures of Old Christine” (3.8/9 in 18-49, 12 million viewers overall) retained a nothing-special 81% of its 18-49 lead-in.

At ABC, “Supernanny” put up respectable albeit fourth-place numbers at 9 (3.3/8 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall), but new drama “What About Brian” (2.6/7 in 18-49, 5.4 million viewers overall) fell nearly 20% week to week to finish last among the broadcasters at 10.

The WB’s “7th Heaven” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 5 million viewers overall) is building momentum for its May 8 finale, topping the 5-million mark for the first time in a while.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 4.3/12; CBS, 4.2/11; NBC, 4.1/11; ABC, 2.8/8; WB, 1.6/4; UPN, 1.3/3.

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