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ABC Breaks CBS Monopoly in Weekly Ratings

(Posted September 14, 2005 by Leah Yoakum)

LOS ANGELES ( Someone other than CBS finally managed to grab the top spot in the Nielsens this summer, as ABC rode a wave of college and pro football games to win the week.

ABC's victory ends a 14-week string of CBS dominance in the weekly Nielsens, dating back to the end of May sweeps. The Alphabet averaged a 5.4 rating/9 share and 8.3 million viewers for the week ending Sunday, Sept. 11, topping CBS' 5.1/8 and 7.54 million viewers.

FOX, which rolled out its Sunday lineup this week, came in third with a 4.7/8 and 7.35 million viewers, while NBC (4.4/7, 6.25 million) was fourth. UPN and The WB tied for fifth in households at 1.5/2, with UPN holding a slight edge in viewers, 2.19 million to 2.16 million.

ABC and FOX tied for the lead among adults 18-49, each scoring a 3.1 rating in Madison Avenue's favorite demographic. CBS came in third at 2.6, followed by NBC at 2.0. UPN and The WB tied for fifth at 0.9.

Not included in any of the nets' ratings for the week is Friday's "Shelter from the Storm" benefit for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Nielsen says about 24 million people watched the celebrity-studded telethon, which aired on the six English-language broadcast nets, Spanish-language broadcasters Univision and Azteca America and more than 30 cable channels.

ABC had four programs make the Nielsen top 20 for the week, and all of them were football-related. The season-opening Thursday game between New England and Oakland was the week's most-watched show, drawing an 11.7/21 and just over 18 million viewers. The seven-minute pregame show, counted separately, was second at 10.2/17.

Two college football games, Monday's Florida State-Miami contest (6.5/11) and Saturday's Texas-Ohio State matchup (6.4/11), finished 12th and 13th for ABC. The "NFL Opening Kickoff" concert special that preceded Thursday's game also did reasonably well, tying for 32nd overall with a 4.8/8.

Its fellow 32nd-place finishers were two FOX premieres, "The O.C." and "American Dad." The network got stronger showings from the season debuts of "The Simpsons," 6.8/11, which tied for ninth overall; and "Family Guy," which was just outside the top 20 at 5.4/8. Just as important, all the FOX premieres -- "The War at Home" and "Reunion" -- were among the top 20 in adults 18-49, as was Monday's "Prison Break."

The network's top show for the week, though, was an NFL postgame show on Sunday, which FOX is now calling "The OT." It tied for sixth overall.

CBS, as has been the case all summer, stayed competitive with reruns of its crime shows and comedies. "CSI," "Without a Trace," "CSI: Miami" and "Two and a Half Men" all finished in the top 10. NBC got top-20 finishes from all of its "Law & Order" shows and two installments of "Dateline" covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Farther down the rankings, The WB was led by a "Gilmore Girls" rerun, which tied for 78th overall with a 2.2/3. "R U the Girl" led UPN with a 1.9/3 (tied for 82nd). UPN's "Smackdown!" suffered a little in its first Friday airing, which was shortened by the "Shelter" benefit and averaged just a 1.7/3.

Source: Zap2it

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