'Dancing,' 'Lost' lead ABC to Wed. victory

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NEW YORK -- ABC two-stepped its way to first place in both key audience measures Wednesday, with "Dancing With The Stars" and "Lost" carrying the network to victory over CBS's formidable Wednesday night drama lineup.

ABC had both the most-watched show of the night in the "Dancing" results show as well as highest-rated show in the adults 18-49 demographic with "Lost." But even then, CBS made it a close race in viewers, particularly at 9:30 p.m. with "Criminal Minds" surpassing "Lost" in viewers although not in the demo.

ABC's night started strong with "Dancing," which overpowered everything else in the hour with 19.9 million viewers and a 5.1 rating/14 share in the adults 18-49 demo, according to preliminary estimates released Thursday by Nielsen Media Research. That was ahead of everything else, including "Jericho" (10.5 million, 3.2/9) that was up slightly in the demo compared to last week. NBC's "30 Rock," which the network announced would move to Thursdays, averaged 6 million viewers and a 2.1/6 in the demo (compared to last week's 5.7 million, 2.3/7). "20 Good Years" (5.4 million, 2.0/5) was up slightly from last week but flat in the demo.

The 9 p.m. battleground saw "Lost" (16.8 million, 6.9/17) victorious over "Criminal Minds" (16.6 million, 4.4/11) but by only 200,000 viewers. At 9:30 p.m., "Criminal Minds" beat "Lost" in viewers, 17.6 million to 16.5 million. NBC saw improvements with "The Biggest Loser" (7.8 million, 3.3/8).

CBS' advantage continued with "CSI: NY" (17 million, 5.4/14), which dominated 10 p.m. against "The Nine" (8 million, 3.0/8) and "Dateline" (8.6 million, 3.2/9).

Fox struck out with the postponement of Game 4 of the World Series in St. Louis, averaging only 5.5 million viewers and a 2.0/5 in the demo with "The War At Home" repeats. The CW delivered 5.5 million viewers and a 2.7/8 in adults 18-49 --- ahead of both NBC and Fox in the hour -- and tied for first in women 18-34 although was second to "Dancing" in adults 18-34. "One Tree Hill" (3.6 million, 1.6/4) was the most watched episode of the season so far, and up double-digits week to week in adults 18-34 and adults 18-49.

Nightly averages: ABC (14.9 million, 5.0/13); CBS (14.7 million, 4.3/11); NBC (7.4 million, 2.9/8); Fox (5.5 million, 2.0/5); and The CW (4.5 million, 2.1/7).
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