NBC shares 18-49 trophy with Fox

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NEW YORK -- NBC and Fox split the primetime adults 18-49 crown last week while CBS took yet another week in viewership, according to Nielsen Media Research.

NBC and Fox both averaged a 2.5 rating/7 share in the adults 18-49 demographic for the week, ahead of ABC's 2.2/6 and CBS' 2.1/6 for the week ending Dec. 31, which includes Christmas Day and New Year's Eve. CBS, like ABC without any of its heavy hitters in originals, averaged 8.3 million viewers for the week compared with NBC's 7.7 million, Fox's 6.7 million and ABC's 6.4 million.

New Year's Eve saw NBC's "Sunday Night Football" (13.4 million, 4.7/15) reign supreme for a final time this year. It was the only Sunday primetime program -- with the exception of the tail end of football games on CBS and Fox -- that passed the 10 million viewer mark that night or above a 3.0 in the demo. ABC had a quiet night but was boosted slightly by the first hour of "New Year's Rockin' Eve" (8.3 million, 2.8/9) at 10 p.m.

Christmas Night belonged to NBC as well, as a two-hour "Deal or No Deal" (16.4 million, 5.3/15) proved a happy holiday for the peacock. A special edition of "1 vs. 100" (11.8 million, 4.1/12) didn't do as well but still was better than anything else at 10 p.m. An honorable mention went to ABC's telecast of "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" (8.7 million, 3.2/9).

Tuesday night was won by Fox, whose two hours of "House" repeats -- including a 9.2 million, 3.6/10 -- outshone anything else for the night in the demo. CBS' telecast of "The Kennedy Center Honors" (10 million, 1.9/5) was the night's winner in viewership. ABC's "Big Day" continued to fall, with two original episodes failing to hit 4 million viewers or higher than a 1.4/4 in adults 18-49.

Repeats of CBS' Wednesday lineup -- "The King of Queens," "Criminal Minds" and "CSI: NY" as well as a special "Two and a Half Men" repeat -- trounced three hours of "Friday Night Lights" on NBC and two hours of "The George Lopez Show," though ABC's "Primetime: Basic Instinct" (7.7 million, 3.0/8) showed some life in the demo for the first time this run.

CBS again took Thursday night in both measures with repeats, beating repeats on ABC, NBC and Fox's "Sweet Home Alabama" telecast. Friday went to ABC in the demo with a two-hour "20/20" (7.6 million, 2.6/8) that was boosted by a special report on the execution of Saddam Hussein in its second hour.

Weekly averages: CBS (8.3 million, 2.1/6); NBC (7.7 million, 2.5/5); Fox (6.7 million, 2.5/7); ABC (6.4 million, 2.2/6); and the CW (2 million, 0.8/2).
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