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

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NEW YORK -- The elimination of Joey Lawrence on "Dancing With The Stars" and the "Lost" cliffhanger gave ABC a primetime victory in both viewers and the adults 18-49 demographic, although another surge by CBS' "Criminal Minds" helped it beat "Lost" in viewership head-to-head.

"Lost" saw a week-to-week increase in its last episode of the season, bringing in 17.1 million viewers and a 7.0 rating/17 share in adults 18-49 according to preliminary estimates released Thursday by Nielsen Media Research. "Lost" was the night's top show in adults 18-49. But the show dipped from 17.2 million to 16.9 million viewers at 9:30 p.m., while "Criminal Minds" (17.5 million, 5.1/12) saw an increase of more than a million during the same period. "Criminal Minds" set records in viewership and the adults 18-49 demo.

An hour earlier, ABC got the night started off right with 20.6 million viewers and a 5.2/14 in the demo with "Dancing With The Stars." That was ahead of CBS' "Jericho" (9.8 million, 3.0/8) and Fox's "Bones" (7.5 million, 2.8/7) while The CW's "America's Next Top Model" averaged 5.4 million viewers and a 2.6/7 in the demo.

NBC's two-hour "The Biggest Loser" averaged 7.3 million viewers and a 3.1/8 in the demo, tied with its highest adults 18-49 rating for the time period this season.

"The O.C.," which got a 9 p.m. Wednesday spot this week after a horrible start last week on Thursday, didn't do much better: It averaged 3.5 million viewers and a 1.5/4 in the demo.

"CSI: NY" (16.7 million, 5.4/14) plowed through the competition at 10 p.m., which included "The Nine" (7.6 million, 3.0/8) and NBC's "Dateline" (8.1 million, 3.0/8).

Nightly averages: ABC (15.1 million, 5.1/13); CBS (14.7 million, 4.5/12); NBC (7.5 million, 3.0/8); Fox (5.5 million, 2.2/5); and The CW (4.4 million, 2.1/5).
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