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Prime-Time TV Rankings

Fewer 'Idol' viewers, but it's still tops

May 14, 2008|From Times wire reports

Contestants are disappearing as the "American Idol" finale approaches. Unfortunately for Fox, so are the viewers.

The 21.8 million people who watched the May 6 competition was the show's smallest Tuesday audience in more than five years. The show did better the next night, with 22.9 million, but that was the smallest Wednesday audience in three years, according to Nielsen Media Research.

They were still the most popular programs in prime time last week. It's the May ratings "sweep," but no other show cracked the 20-million viewer mark, once considered routine for television's top programs.

Another one-time big event, the finale of a "Survivor" season on CBS, was seen by 12.98 million viewers and didn't crack Nielsen's top 10. It was the least-watched "Survivor" finale.

Americans also preferred to spend Mother's Day with their own moms, if possible. NBC's "America's Favorite Mom" ranked No. 107 for the week with just 2.4 million viewers.

CBS was the nation's most popular network last week for the third consecutive week.

The 1981 movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark"' was the week's most-watched program on cable, drawing 5.63 million viewers to the USA Network Saturday night.--

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Here are the rankings for national prime-time network television last week (May 5-11) 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 286 million potential viewers in the U.S. ages 2 and older. Viewership is listed in millions.

*--* -- Program Network Viewers *--*

*--* 1 American Idol (Wed.) FOX 22.87 2 American Idol (Tue.) FOX 21.75 3 Dancing With the Stars (Tue., 9 p.m.) ABC 18.38 4 Dancing With the Stars (Mon.) ABC 18.10 5 CSI CBS 18.07 *--*

*--* 6 Grey's Anatomy ABC 16.03 7 Desperate Housewives ABC 15.43 8 Without a Trace CBS 14.67 9 CSI: Miami (Mon.) CBS 14.11 10 NCIS CBS 14.04 *--*

*--* 11 Two and a Half Men CBS 13.61 12 House FOX 13.48 13 Survivor: Micronesia (Sun.) CBS 12.98 14 Criminal Minds CBS 12.88 15 CSI: NY CBS 12.73 *--*

*--* 16 Survivor: Micronesia (Thu.) CBS 12.62 17 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition ABC 11.97 18 Hell's Kitchen FOX 11.00 19 Lost ABC 10.78 20 Brothers & Sisters ABC 10.69 *--*

*--* 21 Dancing With the Stars (Tue., 8 p.m.) ABC 10.58 22 Law & Order: SVU (Tue., 10 p.m.) NBC 10.53 23 "Survivor: Micronesia Reunion" CBS 10.42 24 60 Minutes CBS 10.39 -- Rules of Engagement CBS 10.39 *--*

*--* 26 Shark CBS 10.05 27 Samantha Who? ABC 9.89 28 Medium NBC 9.57 29 Numb3rs CBS 9.33 30 Law & Order (Wed.) NBC 8.85 *--*

*--* 31 Ghost Whisperer CBS 8.78 32 Deal or No Deal (Mon.) NBC 8.49 33 How I Met Your Mother CBS 8.36 34 Bones FOX 8.23 35 Women's Murder Club ABC 8.02 *--*

*--* 36 Ugly Betty ABC 7.98 37 Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? FOX 7.82 38 "Fox NASCAR Sprint Cup" FOX 7.81 39 America's Funniest Home Videos ABC 7.64 40 Moonlight CBS 7.61 *--*

*--* 41 E.R. NBC 7.55 42 "Audition: Barbara Walters' Journey" ABC 7.47 43 The Price Is Right Primetime CBS 7.43 44 CSI: Miami (Tue.) CBS 7.41 45 The Big Bang Theory CBS 7.38 *--*

*--* 46 Deal or No Deal (Wed.) NBC 7.27 47 The Office (Thu.) NBC 7.16 48 Wife Swap ABC 6.95 49 Back to You FOX 6.94 50 Bachelor: London Calling ABC 6.57 *--*

*--* 51 "TV's All-Time Funniest" ABC 6.51 52 20/20 ABC 6.20 53 Don't Forget the Lyrics FOX 6.15 54 48 Hours Mystery CBS 6.14 55 The Simpsons (8 p.m.) FOX 6.08 *--*

*--* 56 My Name Is Earl NBC 6.06 57 Til Death FOX 6.03 58 Dateline: NBC (Fri.) NBC 5.94 59 Crimetime Saturday (9 p.m.) CBS 5.86 60 Family Guy FOX 5.81 *--*

*--* 61 American Dad FOX 5.67 62 Law & Order: SVU (Sun.) NBC 5.65 63 Law & Order (Sat.) NBC 5.49 64 30 Rock NBC 5.45 65 Scrubs NBC 5.26 *--*

*--* 66 Fuego en la Sangre (Mon.) UNI 5.24 Supernanny ABC 5.24 68 Crimetime Saturday (8 p.m.) CBS 5.16 69 Fuego en la Sangre (Tue.) UNI 5.08 70 King of the Hill (8:30 p.m.) FOX 5.04 *--*

*--* 71 Al Diablo con los Guapos (Wed.) UNI 5.02 72 Al Diablo con los Guapos (Mon.) UNI 4.96 73 Fuego en la Sangre (Thu.) UNI 4.81 74 Fuego en la Sangre (Wed.) UNI 4.76 *--*

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 10.64 10.04 ABC 9.53 8.82 FOX 8.93 10.80 NBC 6.00 7.85 UNI 3.56 3.54 CW 2.56 2.45 *--*

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