Still a two-horse race

CBS, ABC tie for demo lead in busy holiday week

Amid an unusual holiday week peppered with specials and sports, CBS and ABC nonetheless managed to continue their tight race for the season among adult viewers, with both networks tying in the 18-49 demographic.

ABC offered two of the highest-rated shows last week with its two-part "Dancing With the Stars" finale, with Tuesday's results show (20.6 million viewers, 5.1 rating/13 share in the key adults 18-49 demographic) given a nice lead-in from the annual special "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" (11.1 million, 3.4/9).

Sunday's "Desperate Housewives" (15.8 million, 5.7/12) also continued to perform strong, ranking as the week's top-rated scripted series. ABC also got a lift from a Barbara Walters Thanksgiving Eve special (11.6 million, 3.0/9) in which she interviewed Barack and Michelle Obama.

CBS' Monday night comedy power block continued to boost the network, with "Two and a Half Men" (15 million, 5.3/12) ranking as the second-highest-rated scripted series. "The Big Bang Theory" (10 million, 3.9/10) delivered its largest audience ever, while Tuesday's "The Mentalist" (15.9 million, 3.7/9) topped fellow freshman drama "Fringe" (7.7 million, 3.4/9).

NBC came in third place with the week's highest-rated program, "Sunday Night Football" (15.9 million, 6.1/14), which was up from the previous week. NBC's second-highest-rated show was "Heroes" (7.5 million, 3.5/8), which remains at a low point. NBC also aired the week's most-talked-about program, Wednesday's variety show revival attempt "Rosie Live" (5 million, 1.2/4), which tied an episode of ABC's "Pushing Daisies" as the lowest-rated major broadcast network nonrepeat program of the week.

Fox was fourth and leading with "House" (12.9 million, 5.2/14), while "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" slipped to a new low (4.6 million, 1.8/5).

For the week, CBS averaged 11 million viewers and a 2.9/8 in adults 18-49, followed by ABC (10 million, 2.9/8), NBC (6.6 million, 2.4/7), Fox (6.1 million, 2.3/6) and the CW (1.4 million, 0.5/1). (partialdiff)
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