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TELEVISION & RADIO | Prime-Time TV Rankings

Call it 'Must-CBS' TV

October 29, 2003|Greg Braxton

NBC may have coined the term "Must-See TV" for its Thursday prime-time slate, but the reliable lineup was soundly beaten by rival CBS last week despite heavily promoted episodes of "Friends" and "Will & Grace," according to Nielsen Media data released Tuesday.

"CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" was the top-rated series in total viewers, beating out a "Will & Grace" episode featuring James Earl Jones and the last episode of the struggling comedy "Coupling" before it is yanked for the November sweeps. CBS' "Survivor: Pearl Islands" was the fourth highest-rated series, coming in ahead of "Friends" and "Scrubs."

In a sign of how confident CBS is in its lineup, less than two months into the season it announced Tuesday it was giving full-season orders for five new shows: "Cold Case," "Joan of Arcadia," "Navy NCIS," "Two and a Half Men" and "The Handler."

In other ratings news, Katie Couric's "NBC Dateline" interview with Elizabeth Smart performed solidly last Friday.

Thanks to the World Series, Fox won the total viewers crown for the third consecutive week, an historic first for the network. But baseball's over and the network is back to regular programming, which seems more problematic: In their second week, episodes of "Joe Millionaire" and the heavily touted "Skin" continued to perform below expectations Monday night.

Greg Braxton

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Here are the rankings for national prime-time network television last week (Oct. 20-26) as compiled by Nielsen Media Research. They are based on the average number of people who watched a program from start to finish. Nielsen estimates there are 272.04 million potential viewers in the U.S. age 2 and older. Viewership is listed in millions.

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