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Crime scenes do pay

With three sorts of 'CSI' to carry it to No.1, CBS incontestably leads the week.

September 30, 2004|Scott Collins

CBS may be struggling with a reporting scandal at "60 Minutes," but there's no controversy surrounding the network's prime-time ratings victory for the season's first week.

As it so often does, CBS finished the week ending Sept. 26 with a clear lead among total viewers (13.6 million), easily beating NBC (10.6 million), ABC (10 million) and Fox (5.3 million), according to figures released Wednesday by Nielsen Media Research. But the network also logged its first September premiere week win since 1991 among viewers ages 18 to 49, the key demographic for advertisers. That's a big switch from NBC's recent pattern of dominance among young adults.

Leading the way for CBS were the week's two most-watched programs: Thursday's season premiere of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," starring Marg Helgenberger and William Petersen (30.6 million viewers), and "CSI: Miami" (22.4 million). And the Wednesday series premiere of the spinoff "CSI: NY" easily beat NBC's "Law & Order" (19.3 million versus 15.4 million).

All told, CBS had six of the top 10 most-watched shows and five of the top 10 in the 18-to-49 category. One of the network's few disappointments was Friday's premiere of the Rob Lowe drama "Dr. Vegas" (9.3 million), which ran a distant second to ABC's newsmagazine "20/20" (11 million).

NBC's animated "Father of the Pride" (9.5 million) watched its young-adult audience dip again last week, although the network's new drama "Medical Investigation" (8.3 million) showed signs of life Friday. Meanwhile, Donald Trump's reality series "Apprentice 2" hung tough Thursday against the "CSI" onslaught, with its young-adult numbers holding up reasonably well opposite the popular crime drama.

Long-struggling ABC got a welcome burst of good news from the Wednesday debut of the desert-island drama "Lost" (18.6 million), the network's most-watched drama premiere in nine years. Fox, awaiting postseason baseball next week, was essentially out of the race, with not a single program in the top 30.

On basic cable, Sunday's NFL contest featuring Tampa Bay at Oakland gave ESPN the week's No. 1 program in total viewers (9.4 million) and ages 18 to 49. Other prime-time standouts included Spike's Monday wrestling from WWE (4.6 million) and FX's "Nip/Tuck" (3.7 million).

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Prime-Time TV Rankings

Here are the rankings for national prime-time network television last week (Sept. 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 277.93 million potential viewers in the U.S. age 2 and older. Viewership is listed in millions.

*--* 1 CSI CBS 30.57 2 CSI: Miami CBS 22.45 3 Without a Trace CBS 21.51 4 ER NBC 19.69 5 CSI: NY CBS 19.26

6 Survivor: Vanuatu CBS 19.14 7 Law & Order (9 p.m.) NBC 18.86 8 Monday Night Football ABC 18.81 9 Lost ABC 18.65 10 Everybody Loves Raymond CBS 17.99

11 Two and Half Men CBS 16.44 12 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition ABC 16.43 13 Apprentice 2 NBC 15.88 14 Law & Order NBC 15.39 15 Will & Grace NBC 15.32

16 Joey NBC 14.86 17 Law & Order: SVU NBC 14.20 18 NFL Monday Showcase ABC 13.91 19 "Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman" CBS 13.77 20 "Dr. Phil Primetime" CBS 13.08

21 Amazing Race: 5 CBS 12.85 22 Law & Order: Criminal Intent NBC 12.67 23 Crossing Jordan NBC 12.55 24 Las Vegas NBC 12.08 25 Listen Up CBS 11.75

26 60 Minutes CBS 11.21 27 Still Standing CBS 11.11 28 20/20 (Fri.) ABC 11.01 29 Wife Swap ABC 10.86 30 According to Jim ABC 10.59

31 Big Brother 5: Finale CBS 10.54 32 NFL Sunday Post-Game FOX 10.26 33 JAG CBS 9.95 34 Rodney ABC 9.92 Fear Factor NBC 9.92

36 NYPD Blue ABC 9.68 37 Father of the Pride NBC 9.51 38 My Wife and Kids ABC 9.35 39 Dr. Vegas CBS 9.34 40 Third Watch NBC 8.86

41 Clubhouse (preview) CBS 8.74 42 Dateline: NBC (Fri.) NBC 8.72 43 American Dreams NBC 8.61 44 Scrubs NBC 8.58 45 Joan of Arcadia CBS 8.47

46 Medical Investigation NBC 8.27 47 The Bachelor ABC 8.19 48 Dateline NBC (Sun.) NBC 8.05 49 LAX NBC 7.92 50 Crimetime Saturday CBS 7.42

51 48 hours Mystery CBS 7.40 52 Hawaii NBC 7.38 53 Hope & Faith ABC 7.12 54 "Cast Away" ABC 6.67 55 7th Heaven WB 6.64

56 Extreme Makeover ABC 6.62 57 Law & Order: SVU (Sat.) NBC 6.58 58 Less Than Perfect ABC 6.56 59 Cops (8:30 p.m.) FOX 6.43 Complete Savages ABC 6.43

61 Primetime Live ABC 6.41 62 Last Comic Standing 3 NBC 6.11 8 Simple Rules ABC 6.11 64 Smallville WB 6.07 65 Trading Spouses FOX 6.06

66 America's Funniest Home Videos ABC 6.05 67 America's Most Wanted FOX 6.02 68 Gilmore Girls WB 5.80 69 That '70s Show FOX 5.64 70 Everwood WB 5.56

71 Cops FOX 5.45 72 Charmed WB 5.37 73 Bernie Mac Show (9:30 p.m.) FOX 5.15 74 Bernie Mac Show FOX 5.14 75 Renovate My Family FOX 5.10

76 One Tree Hill WB 4.92 77 Next Great Champ FOX 4.74 78 Quintuplets FOX 4.61 79 WWE Smackdown! UPN 4.58 80 The Benefactor ABC 4.49

81 Survivor: Vanuatu (Sat.) CBS 4.42 82 Reba WB 4.35 83 North Shore FOX 4.07 84 Mountain WB 3.89 85 Law & Order (Sat.) NBC 3.81

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