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Television & Radio | Prime-Time TV Rankings

No judging controversy about NBC's victory

In the week ending Sunday, the network's Olympics coverage dominates prime-time viewing, led by the golden Carly Patterson.

August 25, 2004|Jonathan Taylor

Probably the least suspenseful contest of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens was between NBC and the other networks: Sure enough, NBC's prime-time coverage won each night in the week ending Sunday, and it was never even close.

Not only did the network attract the most viewers overall, its seven nights of all-Olympics programming last week won in all but one of the measured demographic categories. The only age group that bucked the trend was teenage males, who made the return of Fox's "The Family Guy" the fifth-most-watched show last week, and UPN's "WWE Smackdown" the seventh.

Carly Patterson's gold-medal-winning performance in the women's gymnastics all-around competition on Thursday night was the most-watched program in the week ending Sunday, according to Nielsen Media Research. That night also saw swimmer Michael Phelps add to his haul.

Overall for the week, NBC averaged 26.7 million viewers in prime time, more than three times the 7.2 million for second-place CBS. ABC was third with 4.5 million, followed by Fox with 4.4 million.

NBC wasn't the only network with something to brag about. After that top seven, CBS claimed the next 12 spots, led as usual by "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" on Thursday night. It was the only show that drew more than half the number of Olympics viewers, although only by a small margin.

ABC was the only other network to get into the top 20 among total viewers, at No. 20, with "America's Funniest Home Videos."

In addition to its strong showing among teenage males, "Family Guy" helped Fox as well with 18- to 49-year-old adults, the key demographic for advertisers and most networks. Back-to-back episodes tied with seven other shows for 21st place.

One place Olympics coverage didn't dominate the ratings was on cable, despite or perhaps because NBC scattered the coverage over networks it owns such as USA, Bravo and MSNBC. Perhaps the appeal of women's gymnastics couldn't match other sports offered on cable.

TNT's coverage of the Nextel Cup NASCAR racing was again the most watched show on cable, followed by USA's "Monk," ESPN's preseason game between the Seahawks and the Packers, and "WWE Entertainment" on Spike.

-- Jonathan Taylor

*

Here are the rankings for national prime-time network television last week (Aug. 16-22) 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. ages 2 and older. Viewership is listed in millions.

*--* Program Network Viewers 1 "2004 NBC 31.70 Summer Olympics" (Thu.) 2 "2004 Summer NBC 30.15 Olympics" (Tue.) 3 "2004 Summer NBC 28.40 Olympics" (Wed.) 4 "2004 Summer NBC 27.11 Olympics" (Mon.) 5 "2004 Summer NBC 26.04 Olympics" (Sun.)

6 "2004 Summer NBC 23.75 Olympics" (Fri.) 7 "2004 Summer NBC 22.54 Olympics" (Sat.) 8 CSI CBS 11.41 9 Without a Trace CBS 9.35 10 CSI: Miami CBS 9.06

11 Everybody Loves CBS 8.88 Raymond Big Brother 5 CBS 8.88 (Thu.) 13 60 Minutes CBS 8.78 14 Amazing Race: 5 CBS 8.73 15 Two and a Half Men CBS 8.58

16 "Pay It Forward" CBS 8.11 17 Cold Case CBS 7.91 18 Big Brother 5 CBS 7.87 (Tue.) 19 48 Hours Mystery CBS 7.68 20 America's Funniest ABC 7.35 Home Videos

21 Navy NCIS CBS 7.16 22 60 Minutes II CBS 7.06 23 My Wife and Kids ABC 6.76 (8:30 p.m.) 24 20/20 (Fri.) ABC 6.46 25 My Wife and Kids ABC 6.45

26 Extreme Makeover: ABC 6.25 Home Edition (Sun.) 27 Big Brother 5 CBS 6.20 (Sat.) 28 Yes, Dear CBS 5.78 29 "NFL on Fox" FOX 5.74 30 King of Queens CBS 5.64

31 King of Queens CBS 5.60 (9:30 p.m.) 32 Still Standing CBS 5.45 33 The Simpsons FOX 5.41 34 Cops (8:30 p.m.) FOX 5.37 35 "NFL Pre-Season CBS 5.31 Football"

36 America's Most FOX 5.26 Wanted 37 Family Guy (9:30 FOX 5.20 p.m.) 38 Family Guy (9 p.m.) FOX 5.15 39 Trading Spouses FOX 5.03 40 WWE Smackdown! UPN 5.03

41 "NFL Pre-Kick" CBS 4.99 42 George Lopez ABC 4.98 43 America's Funniest ABC 4.88 Home Videos 44 Extreme Makeover ABC 4.86 (Thu., 8 p.m.) 45 "Jurassic Park III" ABC 4.81

46 In the Jury Room ABC 4.76 47 That '70s Show FOX 4.73 (Mon., 8:30 p.m.) 48 The Days ABC 4.72 49 "Best TV Shows ABC 4.61 That Never Were" 50 Extreme Makeover: ABC 4.56 Home Edition (Tue.)

51 Blue Collar TV WB 4.51 52 Family Guy (8:30 FOX 4.46 p.m.) 53 That '70s Show FOX 4.43 (Mon., 8 p.m.) 54 8 Simple Rules ABC 4.38 55 That '70s Show FOX 4.37 (Tue., 9 p.m.)

56 Cops FOX 4.28 57 Navy NCIS (Sat.) CBS 4.25 58 Hope & Faith ABC 4.20 That '70s Show FOX 4.20 (Tue., 9:30 p.m.) 60 According to Jim ABC 4.16

61 Family Guy (8 p.m.) FOX 4.07 62 "Road Trip" ABC 3.97 63 Drew Carey Show ABC 3.86 64 Bernie Mac (9:30 FOX 3.71 p.m.) 65 Less Than Perfect ABC 3.60 (Fri.)

66 Arrested FOX 3.53 Development 67 Less Than Perfect ABC 3.52 68 Malcolm in the FOX 3.50 Middle 69 Bernie Mac ( 9 FOX 3.46 p.m.) 70 Casino FOX 3.37

71 Bernie Mac (8:30 FOX 3.24 p.m.) 72 Summerland WB 3.18 73 Amazing Race: 5 CBS 3.16 (Sat.) 74 Drew Carey Show ABC 3.12 (9:30 p.m.) 75 Bernie Mac (8 p.m.) FOX 3.11

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