An Eye-catching week

CBS back on top with return of scripted series

CBS reclaimed its position as the most-watched television network during the first week of the sweep as its scripted hits continued to perform competitively.

During the writers strike, CBS lost its usual season-to-date lead among total viewers to Fox. Although CBS still trails Fox for the season, the network broke through for the week ending April 27, led by Monday's "Two and a Half Men" (13.4 million viewers, 5.0 rating/12 share among adults 18-49) and Thursday's "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (17 million, 4.7/12). Fox remained victorious in 18-49 (averaging 9.2 million, 3.4/9.5), with CBS ranked third (9.2 million, 2.5/7).

In addition, CBS had the return of the cult drama "Moonlight" on Friday (7.9 million, 2.1/7) coming in below its prestrike average yet still winning the 9 p.m. hour. Also, after dropping the past few weeks, Thursday's "Survivor: Micronesia" (12.9 million, 4.3/13) rebounded 10% in the demo. CBS' "Big Brother" finale (6.4 million, 2.3/6) was up a tick for the week.

Fox clocked its 16th consecutive weekly win in the demo, led by "American Idol." Tuesday's edition (24.7 million, 9.0/25) was up slightly from the previous week, while Wednesday's outing (23.2 million, 8.6/21) hit a season low. Tuesday "Idol" lead-out "Hell's Kitchen" (11 million, 4.9/12) held steady to win the 9 p.m. hour.

ABC was second in the demo and registered the top three scripted series for the week: "Grey's Anatomy" (16.4 million, 6.5/16), "Lost" (12.1 million, 5.3/14) and "Desperate Housewives" (16.4 million, 5.9/14).

Although Sunday's "Housewives" rebounded 7% from its series low the previous week, the return of "Grey's" to originals Thursday night was one of several shows to hit new lows that evening, including "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and the return of "Ugly Betty" (8.5 million, 2.5/7).

In fourth place, NBC struggled under increased Thursday night competition, with "The Office" (7.7 million, 4.0/10), "Scrubs" (5.4 million, 2.5/7) and "My Name Is Earl" (6.2 million, 2.4/7) down from the previous week.

The CW finally had a good ratings talking point last week with the return of "Gossip Girl" (2.5 million, 1.3/4) to originals on Monday, a new night for the show. The series was up 25% in its target demo and helped give the network its best week in months.

On the cable front, Monday's episode of MTV's "The Hills" (2.4/6) was the top-rated show of the day on cable. (partialdiff)
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