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Nobody catches ‘Bird Flu’

Morning Ratings Flash -- Rick Kissell

ABC struck out with its sweeps telepic “Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America,” which was overwhelmed by Fox’s usually dominant “American Idol” and “House,” according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen.

“Bird Flu” ranked fourth from 8 to 10 p.m. (1.8 rating/4 share in adults 18-49, 5.3 million viewers overall), in line with the net’s weak comedy performance in the time period a week ago with the likes of “According to Jim” and “Hope & Faith.” “Boston Legal,” hampered by that lead-in, ran third at 10 (2.7/7 in 18-49, 9.2 million viewers overall) and was down week to week.

Fox rolled as usual with “American Idol” (11.4/31 in 18-49, 28.1 million viewers overall) and “House” (9.4/23 in 18-49, 24.2 million viewers overall), with the medical mystery retaining a strong 82% of its lead-in from “Idol,” which beat the other five broadcast nets combined in younger demos.

CBS was solid throughout the night, ranking second each hour with “NCIS” (3.5/9 in 18-49, 15.4 million viewers overall), “The Unit” (3.8/9 in 18-49, 14.3 million viewers overall) and a special additional firstrun “The Unit” at 10 (3.6/9 in 18-49, 12.1 million viewers overall).

NBC won the 10 o’clock hour with “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (4.8/13 in 18-49, 12.7 million viewers overall), although it was on the low end.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 10.4/27; CBS, 3.6/9; NBC, 3.1/8; ABC, 2.1/5; WB, 1.6/4; UPN, 1.0/3.

In total viewers: Fox, 26.2 million; CBS, 13.9 million; NBC, 7.9 million; ABC, 6.6 million; WB, 3.6 million; UPN, 2.2 million.

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