Hoops keeps CBS in the viewer loop

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NEW YORK -- The impact of NCAA men's basketball tipped CBS to a weekly win in viewership, though "American Idol" provided enough game for Fox to prevail in the adults 18-49 demographic.

Four straight nights of basketball beginning Thursday gave CBS three nights of primetime victories in viewership, while ABC won two nights with "Grey's Anatomy" on Thursday and the Monday debut of "Dancing With the Stars." Fox won its two nights thanks to "Idol," according to Nielsen Media Research data for the week ending Sunday.

Last Monday's season premiere of "Dancing" (21.8 million, 6.4 rating/16 share in adults 18-49) got ABC off on the right foot. It lifted the network well above NBC's two-hour "Deal or No Deal" (14.2 million, 4.3/11) as well as Fox's "Prison Break" (8.4 million, 3.5/9) and "24" (11.8 million, 4.6/11). But CBS got an honorable mention with a second-place finish highlighted by a 10 p.m. win with "CSI: Miami" (17.7 million, 5.4/14).

Tuesday and Wednesday belonged to "Idol," with Tuesday's two-hour "Idol" (30 million, 11.8/30) laying waste to the competition, though CBS' "NCIS" (15.7 million, 3.7/10) managed to gain some traction.

Wednesday saw a special edition of CBS' "Survivor: Fiji" (12.8 million, 4.2/12) that won at 8 p.m. "Idol" (27.1 million) gave another boost to " 'Til Death" (14.9 million, 6.1/16), which gave new life to the sitcom and put it ahead in the demo against CBS' "Criminal Minds" (15.2 million, 4.3/11). ABC's "Lost" (12.2 million, 5.3/14) won in the demo against "CSI: NY" (13.6 million, 4.1/11).

ABC's one-two punch of "Grey's" (22.3 million, 9.0/23) and "October Road" (11.5 million, 4.6/13) continued to work for the network, though Fox's "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader" (10.8 million, 3.7/11) took "Ugly Betty" (10.4 million, 3.2/10) to school as well as NCAA men's basketball in its return to CBS.

CBS won Friday and Saturday in primetime with basketball, averaging 9.4 million viewers for Friday's two games, compared with NBC's Miss USA (7.4 million), Fox's "Wedding Bells" (5 million, 1.6/5) and ABC's "Six Degrees" (4.4 million, 1.5/5). Saturday was much the same.

Sunday was all CBS as well, with an 11 million-viewer boost from an overtime game running to 8:38 p.m. EDT leading into "60 Minutes" (12.6 million, 3.0/9). But it was beaten in the demo by ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (12.3 million, 4.3/12). Fox's "Family Guy" (8 million, 4.2/10) was the night's highest-ranked show in viewership. NBC's "Grease: You're the One That I Want" (6.9 million, 2.0/5) finished its run.

In the evening news ratings, ABC's "World News With Charles Gibson" won its seventh straight week in viewership, while "NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams" edged ahead of ABC in the adults 25-54 demo. ABC averaged 8.3 million viewers, compared with NBC's 8.1 million and CBS' 6.7 million. ABC and CBS earned a 2.0 rating in adults 25-54, though ABC had 2.44 million viewers compared with CBS' 2.4 million in the demo.

Weekly averages: CBS (11.4 million, 3.5/10), Fox (11.2 million, 4.4/12), ABC (9 million viewers, 3.1/9), NBC (7.4 million, 2.3/6), the CW (3 million, 1.3/3) and My Network TV (940,000, 0.4/1).
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