'Heroes,' 'SNF' give NBC key demo win


NEW YORK -- Stellar ratings for "Sunday Night Football" and "Heroes" boosted NBC to a weekly win in the adults 18-49 demographic, and its best finish for a non-Olympic week since January 2005.

Meanwhile, CBS took its seventh straight week in total viewers and the adults 25-54 demographic for the week ending Nov. 5, which included the first four nights of the November sweep.

Even though it was nudged out of the top spot, ABC still had the top two shows among adults 18-49: "Desperate Housewives" (22.6 million, 9.0/20) and "Grey's Anatomy" (21.9 million, 9.0/21), which finished tied for the No. 1 slot, according to Nielsen Media Research data. NBC's Sunday night telecast of the Colts-Patriots game was a surprise third in the demo rankings and second in total viewers, averaging 21.9 million viewers and an 8.6/21 in the demo. "CSI" (20.8 million, 7.0/16) came in fourth in the demo and in total viewers.

The only freshman series to make the top 10 among adults 18-49 was "Heroes" (14.9 million, 6.5/16) at No. 6. The growing superhero drama hit new series highs in adults 18-49 and total viewers.

ABC's new family drama "Brothers & Sisters" (13.5 million, 5.4/13) also did well, bubbling just under the top 10 with its best delivery since the premiere.

Fox had both good and bad news for the week. "House" returned after postseason baseball to reach the top 10 in 18-49, averaging 14.2 million viewers and a 5.8/15 in its new 9 p.m. Tuesday time period. But the network had an unpleasant shock with the fourth season premiere of "The O.C." (3.4 million, 1.5/3) on Thursday, which was down high double digits from its season opener in September 2005.

Friday belonged to CBS, with its original dramas "Ghost Whisperer" (11.1 million, 3.6/11), "Close To Home" (11.6 million, 3.0/9) and "Numbers" (11.1 million, 3.2/10) winning the night in both viewers and adults 18-49. "Numbers" prevailed against NBC's "Law & Order" (10.9 million, 3.1/9) in head-to-head competition.

Weekly averages: ABC (11.4 million, 3.9/11); CBS (12.8 million, 3.8/10), NBC (10.9 million, 4.0/11); Fox (6.4 million, 2.6/7), and the CW (3.3 million, 1.4/4).