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Prime-Time TV Rankings

Popular shows can't turn ABC's fortunes

May 10, 2006|From Times wire services

ABC opened the May ratings sweeps with a fourth-place finish despite having three of the 11 most popular prime-time programs, illustrating the challenge faced by its executives as they prepare to announce a new fall schedule Tuesday. It was the second week in a row ABC was fourth.

Take away the hits "Grey's Anatomy," "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost," and ABC's lineup is hurting.

Even though NBC had no series that outranked ABC's big three, it still managed to slip by ABC to third behind CBS and Fox in the overall ratings last week, according to figures released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research. ABC finished third among viewers ages 18 to 49, the demographic many advertisers seek.

The lack of depth is why ABC executives are sifting through nearly three dozen pilots before next week's announcement. All the broadcast networks present their fall schedules to advertisers next week in New York.

Tougher competition is hurting ABC's hits. "Desperate Housewives" was down 18% in viewers from the same week last year, when it did not have to go head-to-head against "The Sopranos."

"Lost," which had 15.6 million people last week, was averaging more than 20 million viewers an episode this season before "American Idol" started airing its results show in direct competition, Nielsen said.

NBC had 11 shows in Nielsen's top 40 last week, including three editions of the Howie Mandel-hosted game "Deal or No Deal," while ABC had only six.

CBS cruised to victory overall, averaging 12.3 million viewers, while Fox had 10.7 million viewers and won for the 11th straight week among the youthful demographic. NBC had 8.9 million and ABC 8.7 million. The WB had 3.2 million viewers and UPN 2.7 million.

Fox got a boost by adding an episode of its medical drama "House" to its Wednesday lineup. The conclusion of a two-part episode about a mystery illness that threatened the life of Dr. Eric Foreman (Omar Epps) finished ninth for the week with 17.16 million viewers, the most for a Wednesday scripted program on Fox since a Nov. 8, 1995, episode of "Beverly Hills 90210."

HBO's "The Sopranos" was the week's most-watched cable program for the ninth consecutive week, drawing 8.49 million viewers, which would have put it 42nd for the week overall.

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Here are the rankings for national prime-time network television last week (May 1-7) 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 Net- work View- ers Program Net- work View- ers

*--*

*--* 1 American Idol (Wed.) FOX 29.26 2 American Idol (Tue.) FOX 28.58 3 CSI (Thu.) CBS 26.05 4 House (Tue.) FOX 22.71 5 Grey's Anatomy ABC 21.99

6 Desperate Housewives ABC 21.33 7 CSI: Miami CBS 19.31 8 Without a Trace CBS 19.11 9 House (Wed.) FOX 17.16 10 Survivor: Panama, Exile Island CBS 17.04

11 Lost ABC 15.56 12 Law & Order: SVU (Tue.) NBC 15.27 13 NCIS CBS 14.95 14 CSI: NY CBS 14.67 15 Cold Case CBS 14.61

16 Deal or No Deal (Mon.) NBC 14.38 17 Two and a Half Men CBS 14.31 18 The Unit CBS 14.06 19 Unan1mous FOX 13.92 20 24 FOX 13.15

21 Deal or No Deal (Wed.) NBC 12.41 22 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition ABC 12.33 23 Criminal Minds CBS 12.17 24 Numb3rs CBS 12.01 25 Old Christine CBS 11.92

26 Deal or No Deal (Fri.) NBC 11.91 27 ER NBC 11.78 28 60 Minutes CBS 11.54 29 Close to Home CBS 11.17 30 Ghost Whisperer CBS 11.06

31 Crossing Jordan NBC 10.66 Law & Order NBC 10.66 33 Boston Legal ABC 10.37 34 Law & Order: Criminal Intent (Sun.) NBC 10.35 35 Supernanny ABC 10.31

36 CSI (Sun.) CBS 10.22 37 Medium NBC 10.16 38 Apprentice 5 NBC 9.30 39 My Name Is Earl NBC 8.80 40 Las Vegas NBC 8.59

41 Prison Break FOX 8.54 42 Family Guy (9 p.m.) FOX 8.47 The Simpsons (8 p.m.) FOX 8.47 44 Wife Swap ABC 8.43 45 Family Guy (8:30 p.m.) FOX 8.25

46 America's Funniest Home Videos (Sun.) ABC 8.17 47 Dateline: NBC (Wed.) NBC 7.95 48 The West Wing NBC 7.94 49 20/20 ABC 7.71 50 Amazing Race 9 CBS 7.70

51 The Office NBC 7.45 52 King of Queens CBS 7.44 53 Invasion ABC 7.27 54 How I Met Your Mother CBS 7.24 55 Crimetime Saturday (9 p.m.) CBS 7.20

56 Dateline: NBC (Sun.) NBC 7.06 57 Will & Grace (8:30 p.m.) NBC 7.00 58 Will & Grace (8 p.m.) NBC 6.96 59 48 Hours Mystery CBS 6.71 60 Law & Order: Criminal Intent (Sat.) NBC 6.64

61 American Dad FOX 6.60 American Inventor (9 p.m.) ABC 6.60 63 Conviction NBC 6.57 64 America's Most Wanted FOX 6.15 65 America's Funniest Home Videos (Fri., 9 p.m.) ABC 6.09

66 What About Brian ABC 6.03 67 "Seabiscuit" ABC 5.83 68 Hope & Faith (9 p.m.) ABC 5.70 69 That '70s Show (8:30 p.m.) FOX 5.69 70 7th Heaven WB 5.66

71 Law & Order: SVU (Sat.) NBC 5.50 72 Cops (8:30 p.m.) FOX 5.45 73 "Dynasty Reunion: Catfights & Caviar" CBS 5.35 74 Bailando por un Sueno UNI 5.34 Dateline: NBC (Sat.) NBC 5.34

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