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Viewers are following the scripts

December 21, 2005|From City News Service

Viewership for last week's finales of "The Apprentice" and "The Amazing Race" provided the latest examples of diminished interest in unscripted series, according to Nielsen Media Research figures released Tuesday.

"The Apprentice" finale on NBC drew a record-low 12.8 million viewers, fewer than half the 27.6 million that watched the first "Apprentice" finale April 15, 2004. However, it was still the 13th most-watched prime-time show from Dec. 12 through Sunday and second among viewers ages 18 to 49, the group targeted by NBC, ABC and Fox Broadcasting.

Each "Apprentice" finale has drawn fewer viewers than the one that preceded it, as 16.9 million viewed the Dec. 16, 2004, finale and 14 million the May 19 finale.

The finale for the eighth edition of CBS' "The Amazing Race" finished 16th for the week with 11.5 million viewers, the least for an "Amazing Race" finale since the fourth-edition finale drew 9.9 million on Aug. 21, 2003.

In a week heavy with reruns, CBS had the six most-watched prime-time shows and nine of the top 10 to extend its streak of being the most-watched network for each week of the season to 13, the first network to do that since NBC in 1988.

CBS averaged 12.2 million prime-time viewers, followed by ABC with 8.7 million, NBC with 8.3 million, Fox with 6.7 million, UPN with 3.5 million and the WB with 3.4 million.

CBS also finished first among viewers ages 18 to 49 and 25 to 54, its core audience, while Fox was first among viewers ages 12 to 17, 12 to 34 and 18 to 34.

CBS' "Criminal Minds" was the week's most-watched first-year series, finishing fifth.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Here are the rankings for national prime-time network television last week (Dec. 12-19) 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. ages 2 and older. Viewership is listed in millions.

*--* Program Network Viewers 1 CSI CBS 17.66 2 NCIS CBS 17.11 3 CSI: NY CBS 16.49 4 Without a Trace CBS 15.25 5 Criminal Minds CBS 15.23

6 Cold Case CBS 15.22 7 House FOX 14.65 8 Two and a Half Men (Mon.) CBS 14.25 9 "The Christmas Blessing" CBS 13.85 10 CSI: Miami CBS 13.79

11 Monday Night Football ABC 13.57 12 60 Minutes CBS 12.92 13 Apprentice 4 NBC 12.81 14 Numb3rs CBS 11.96 15 "NFL Post-Game" (Sun.) FOX 11.89

16 Amazing Race 8 CBS 11.50 17 Close to Home CBS 11.34 18 NFL Monday Showcase ABC 11.27 19 Law & Order: SVU (Tue.) NBC 11.20 20 Ghost Whisperer CBS 10.89

21 Out of Practice CBS 10.84 22 Wonderful World of Disney (Thu.) ABC 10.02 23 The Simpsons FOX 9.93 24 Boston Legal ABC 9.86 25 Two and a Half Men (Thu.) CBS 9.71

26 Law & Order (Wed.) NBC 9.37 27 Desperate Housewives ABC 9.32 28 King of Queens CBS 9.23 29 Medium NBC 9.20 30 Dateline: NBC (Fri.) NBC 8.82

31 Law & Order: SVU (Sat.) NBC 8.69 32 "Charlie Brown Christmas" ABC 8.55 33 Grey's Anatomy ABC 8.53 34 The OT (football post-game, Sun.) FOX 8.48 35 How I Met Your Mother (Mon.) CBS 8.42

36 Wonderful World Disney (Sat.) ABC 8.41 37 How I Met Your Mother (Thu.) CBS 8.40 38 Fear Factor NBC 8.37 39 "Elton John: Red Piano" NBC 8.32 40 Family Guy FOX 8.26 sh> 41 Law & Order: Criminal Intent (Fri.) NBC 8.24 42 "Frosty the Snowman" CBS 8.10 43 Lost ABC 8.07 44 Hope and Faith (Tue.) ABC 8.02 45 According to Jim (9 p.m.) ABC 7.99

Joey NBC 7.99 47 "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" NBC 7.97 48 Yes, Dear CBS 7.95 49 According to Jim (8 p.m.) ABC 7.89 50 Las Vegas NBC 7.86

51 American Dad FOX 7.84 War at Home FOX 7.84 53 According to Jim (9:30 p.m.) ABC 7.82 54 Wife Swap ABC 7.68 55 "The Sound of Music" ABC 7.63

56 Freddie ABC 7.48 57 Law &Order: Criminal Intent (Sat.) NBC 7.28 58 George Lopez ABC 7.16 59 Bones FOX 7.12 60 My Name Is Earl NBC 7.04

61 Still Standing CBS 6.97 62 "Frosty Returns" CBS 6.95 63 E-Ring NBC 6.93 64 America's Most Wanted FOX 6.86 65 20/20 ABC 6.83

66 Cops (8:30 p.m.) FOX 6.81 67 7th Heaven WB 6.48 68 Primetime ABC 6.32 69 Trading Spouses FOX 6.27 70 The O.C. FOX 6.22

71 That '70s Show FOX 6.13 72 Dateline: NBC (Sun.) NBC 6.07 73 "Tom Brokaw Reports" NBC 6.06 74 Nanny 911 FOX 5.80 75 Apprentice: Martha NBC 5.74

76 48 Hours Mystery CBS 5.66 77 Alias ABC 5.64 78 Hope and Faith (Fri.) ABC 5.61 79 Cops FOX 5.38 80 "Robbie the Reindeer" CBS 5.25

81 "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" WB 5.23 82 Law & Order (Sat.) NBC 5.21 83 Everybody Hates Chris UPN 4.95 84 WWE Smackdown! UPN 4.75 85 Hot Properties ABC 4.47

86 Stacked FOX 4.32 87 Smallville WB 3.93 88 Arrested Development (8 p.m.) FOX 3.90 89 "The Wizard of Oz" WB 3.88 90 Girlfriends UPN 3.82

91 All of Us UPN 3.77 92 Half and Half UPN 3.59 93 Reunion FOX 3.54 94 Bernie Mac (8 p.m.) FOX 3.51 95 One on One UPN 3.43

Arrested Development (8:30 p.m.) FOX 3.43 97 "Victoria's Secret Fashion Show" UPN 3.33 98 Related (Mon.) WB 3.27 99 America's Next Top Model 5 (Wed.) UPN 3.26 100 Malcolm in the Middle FOX 3.17

101 Bernie Mac (8:30 p.m.) FOX 3.16 102 Family Guy FOX 3.10 103 Gilmore Girls WB 3.02 104 Love Inc. (Thu.) UPN 2.97 105 Everybody Hates Chris UPN 2.85

106 Eve UPN 2.73 107 Supernatural WB 2.68 108 Cuts UPN 2.66 109 Reba WB 2.64 110 America's Next Top Model (Tue.) UPN 2.47

111 "Scooby Doo Christmas" WB 2.34 112 Twins (Wed.) WB 2.26 113 What I Like About You WB 2.12 114 Love Inc. (Wed.) UPN 1.98 115 Twins (Fri.) WB 1.97

116 Related (Wed.) WB 1.46

*--*

Network averages

Here is the number of viewers (in millions) that each network averaged per hour of prime time, for last week and for the season.

*--* Network Last week Season to date CBS 12.24 13.38

ABC 8.66 10.80

NBC 8.32 9.34

FOX 6.74 8.15

UPN 3.49 3.60

WB 3.43 3.50

*--*

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