B'ball drives CBS; 'Idol' powers Fox


NEW YORK -- An original Thursday night lineup and last Monday's NCAA men's basketball championship helped give CBS the clear victory for the week ending April 8 in viewership, while Fox held on to the lead in adults 18-49.

Meanwhile, NBC fell to its lowest weekly rating in adults 18-49 for the September-May TV season since at least 1991, according to Nielsen Media Research data.

It was a down week all around, with several series hitting lows among adults 18-49, including ABC's "Lost" (11.7 million viewers, 4.9 rating/13 share among adults 18-49) and CBS' "Jericho" (8.0 million, 2.1/6), both of which logged their lowest 18-49 ratings with original episodes Wednesday; ABC's "Desperate Housewives" (15.9 million, 6.1/15), which also hit a series low on Easter Sunday; and Fox's "American Idol," whose Wednesday edition (26.1 million, 9.9/26) posted its lowest marks this season.

Otherwise, the week held few surprises, with "Idol" and "House" giving Fox overwhelming wins Tuesday and Wednesday and CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and company in originals winning against ABC's repeat of "Grey's Anatomy" on Thursday.

Monday went to ABC in viewership thanks to the winning performance of "Dancing With the Stars" (18.2 million, 4.8 rating/13 share in adults 18-49) that lasted 90 minutes and lifted the debut of "The Bachelor: An Officer and a Gentleman" (9.9 million, 3.7/9) to the highest premiere numbers for the "Bachelor" franchise since 2004. But CBS came on strong with the NCAA men's final that averaged 19.6 million viewers and a 7.2/19 in the demo, up 16% from last year's final among 18-49 and scoring an easy demo basket for the network on the night.

But no network could compete with Fox on Tuesday and Wednesday night, with the "Idol"-powered lineup outdistancing everyone. Tuesday's "Idol" (26.7 million, 10.4/29) and "House" (20.3 million, 8.7/22) provided an unbeatable combination. ABC's "Dancing" results show mustered 15 million viewers and a 3.9/10 in adults 18-49, compared with last week's 17.9 million and 4.5/11.

Wednesday's "Idol" continued to boost " 'Til Death" (13.9 million, 5.6/15), though the freshman sitcom was down from previous weeks. "Bones" (10.5 million, 3.5/11) won the 8 p.m. hour for Fox.

CBS won big Thursday with all originals, led by 9 p.m.'s "CSI" (21.7 million, 6.7/18) that didn't have to contend with a new "Grey's" or worry about a supersized "30 Rock" (5.4 million, 2.5/7). CBS won again at 10 p.m. with "Shark" (15.1 million, 3.9/11), which easily defeated "October Road" (7.7 million, 3.0/9). And "Survivor: Fiji" (13.6 million, 4.3/13) bested a 43-minute episode of "The Office" (6.7 million, 3.2/10) as well as Fox's "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" (10.3 million, 3.5/11) and a repeat "Ugly Betty" (6.2 million, 1.7/5).

Friday was won by CBS with originals of "Ghost Whisperer" (9.7 million, 2.5/9), "Close to Home" (10.8 million, 2.5/8) and "Numbers" (10.9 million, 2.9/9), which easily defeated NBC's original lineup of "Identity" (6 million, 1.6/6), "Raines" (6.7 million, 1.7/5) and "Law & Order" (8.2 million, 2.3/7), though "L&O" was up slightly from a week before. Saturday's highlight was ABC's three-hour-plus movie "The Ten Commandments" (7.6 million, 2.2/8).

Sunday's primetime victory was split between ABC in the demo and CBS for viewership. ABC won with "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (12.1 million, 4.2/12) at 8 p.m., while "Without a Trace" (14.1 million, 3.6/9) beat "Brothers & Sisters" (10.8 million, 4.0/10) in total viewers.