Fox is oh so close to twin wins


NEW YORK -- Fox notched another victory in the advertiser-friendly adults 18-49 demographic, but CBS derailed Fox's runaway ratings train by eking out -- by 60,000 -- a win in viewership for the week ending Feb. 18.

Fox started the week with a narrow victory in the demographic Monday with a special two-hour "24" that averaged 13.4 million viewers and a 5.0 rating/12 share in the adults 18-49 demo, according to Nielsen Media Research. Fox won even though NBC had "Heroes" (14.7 million, 6.3/14) and CBS had the surging "CSI: Miami" (19.9 million, 6.5/17). "Two and a Half Men" (15.5 million, 4.9/11) and the new "Rules of Engagement" (13.4 million, 4.9/11) also helped CBS' case, while "Deal or No Deal" (16.1 million, 4.6/12) boosted NBC's.

It wasn't even close the next two nights, with Fox taking Tuesday with a combination of "American Idol" and "House" (26 million, 11.2 /25) and Wednesday with a pairing of "Bones" (12.3 million, 4.1/11) and "Idol."

"Idol" averaged 31.2 million and a 13.0/21 on Tuesday and 28.9 million and a 12.2/29 the following night. NBC's "Law & Order: SVU" (12.9 million, 4.9/12) grabbed the 10 p.m. slot Tuesday, and "Lost" (12.8 million, 5.7/15) won that space Wednesday.

Thursday -- which will get interesting this coming week with "American Idol" in the mix for the first of three weeks -- belonged last week to ABC with "Grey's Anatomy" (25.8 million, 10.8/25) again getting its highest rating since its September premiere and handily beating "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (22.7 million, 7.3/17). "Survivor: Fiji" (16.1 million, 5.6/15) was down from last year but in its premiere was good enough to beat "Ugly Betty" (13.7 million, 4.5/12), which nevertheless had a pretty good ratings week, too. NBC's "ER" (11.6 million, 4.8/13) won in the demo, but CBS' "Shark" (15.1 million, 4.4/12) had no problem winning in viewers.

CBS took Friday, with "Ghost Whisperer" (11.3 million, 3.2/19) and "Numbers" (10.7 million, 3.1/9) having no problem at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.

The week finished Sunday with ABC asserting dominance again with "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (14.1 million, 5.4/14) and "Desperate Housewives" (18.5 million, 7.0/17). CBS' schedule was thrown off a bit by the Nissan Open golf telecast that ran a half-hour into primetime before "60 Minutes" (12.4 million, 2.4/7) took over and "The Amazing Race 11" (10.3 million, 3.1/8) premiered.

Things weren't so good for NBC, which saw diminished fortunes yet again for "Grease: You're the One That I Want" ( 6.7 million, 1.9/5) and the lowest rating so far for "The Apprentice" (6 million, 2.3/6). Highlights on Fox were "The Simpsons" (8.7 million, 4.2/11) and "Family Guy" (8.5 million, 4.3/10), which carried Fox to a second-place showing in the demo for Sunday.

It was a good ending to the week for Fox Sports, which averaged 17.5 million viewers (and a 6.8/25 in the demo) for the Daytona 500 that briefly invaded primetime from 7-7:30 p.m. About 16.4 million remained for the Victory Lane coverage, which began around 7:12 p.m. Sunday.

Among the evening newscasts, "NBC Nightly News" was back on top after being nudged out of its traditional dominance by "ABC World News." But ABC edged NBC in the demo, though both had the same rating. CBS remained third.

NBC averaged 10.17 million viewers to ABC's 10.06 million and CBS' 7.8 million. ABC and NBC earned a 2.6 rating in the news demo of adults 25-54, though ABC had a higher share (10) than NBC (9) and about 90,000 more viewers than NBC. CBS trailed with a 2.2/8 in adults 25-54.

Weekly averages: CBS (12.3 million, 3.5/9); Fox (12.2 million, 5.0/13); ABC (9.6 million, 3.6/10); NBC (8.6 million, 3.0/8); and the CW (3.4 million, 1.4/4).