ABC has Rx for demo win


NEW YORK -- ABC and CBS split the bragging rights during the first official week of the 2006-07 season, with the openers of "Grey's Anatomy" and "Desperate Housewives" carrying away an adults 18-49 win for ABC while CBS led in total viewers.

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NBC, however, edged past CBS into second place in the key demo, marking an 18% improvement for the peacock over last year's opening week.

Even without "Monday Night Football" and with the premiere of "Lost" still to come, ABC cornered the market with the top two shows in viewers and adults 18-49 for the week ending Sept. 24. The move of "Grey's" against CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" didn't hurt the medical drama in the slightest. Thursday's Season 3 premiere of "Grey's" was No. 1 for the week by a wide margin with 25.4 million viewers and an 11.0 rating/26 share in the adults 18-49 demographic, according to Nielsen Media Research. In second place was "Housewives," which delivered 24.1 million viewers and a 9.6/21 in adults 18-49.

Even against the "Grey's" juggernaut, CBS' "CSI" (22.6 million, 7.7/18) ranked third overall for the week. A pleasant surprise for NBC was "ER," which won its Thursday time period and came in fourth for the week in the demo with 15.6 million viewers and a 6.8/16. Rounding out the top five in the demo for the week ending Sept. 24 was CBS' "Survivor: Cook Islands" (17.4 million, 6.5/18).

The highest-rated newcomer of the week was ABC's "Brothers and Sisters," which at 10 p.m. Sunday gave ABC 15.7 million viewers and a 6.0/15 in the demo. "Brothers," "Housewives" and the 7-9 p.m. dose of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (17.5 million, 6.4/16) helped ABC reclaim its Sunday crown against NBC's "Sunday Night Football" (15.6 million, 6.1/15). The peacock's pigskin showcase cracked the top 10 again this week but was off significantly compared with the past few weeks.

CBS also bolstered its fortunes Sunday with the relocation of dramas "Cold Case" (16.3 million, 4.1/9) and "Without a Trace" (17.6 million, 4.8/12) into the 9-11 p.m. slot that had been the network's Sunday movie franchise for the past two decades.

A number of new series had lukewarm premieres last week, including NBC's long-awaited "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" (13.4 million, 5.0/13) and ABC's "Six Degrees" (14.7 million, 5.4/14), which followed the monster "Grey's" premiere Thursday. CBS' new Thursday 10 p.m. drama "Shark" (14.7 million, 4.1/11) also suffered a steep decline behind "CSI." CBS' new Monday comedy "The Class" (10.5 million, 3.6/10) was underwhelming in its debut. New CBS dramas "Smith" (11 million, 3.6/10) and "Jericho" (11.7 million, 3.4/10) were a little more promising.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, "Dancing With the Stars" helped fuel ABC's demo win, particularly the Tuesday edition (18.2 million, 5.2/14). Fox's lone entry in the top 10 last week was Tuesday 8 p.m. drama "House" (13.7 million, 5.9/17).

The CW opened for business last week on Wednesday with the solid two-hour premiere of "America's Next Top Model" (5.3 million, 2.6/7). The new network born of the fusion of WB Network and UPN filled out the rest of its partial-premiere week with reruns before diving in with its first full six-night schedule this week.

For the week, ABC led the 18-49 column with a 4.4/12 average, followed by NBC (4.0/11), CBS (3.9/11) and Fox (3.0/8). In total viewers, CBS had a comfortable edge over the competition with an average of 13 million, followed by ABC (12.3 million), NBC (11.1 million) and Fox (7.5 million).