New, old hits reeling with all-time lows


NEW YORK -- It was a tough week for the broadcast networks, with several big-time shows hitting season or series lows.

The decline hit shows all over the schedule: ABC's "Ugly Betty" posted its lowest number ever in adults 18-49, as did CBS' "Shark," NBC's "My Name Is Earl" and three Fox shows: "The War at Home" and the venerable "King of the Hill" and "The Simpsons." ABC's "Desperate Housewives" tied its record low set on Easter Sunday.

CBS' "CSI: Miami," Fox's "24" and Tuesday's edition of Fox's "American Idol" fell to season lows.

Fox ended up winning the week in viewers and 18-49.

The week started off with ABC winning Monday night on the strength of "Dancing With the Stars" (18.9 million, 5.1/13), with "24" (11.3 million, 4.3/10) hitting the lowest adults 18-49 rating of the 2006-07 season and "CSI Miami" (15.4 million, 4.8/12) posting its lowest viewership all season.

Tuesday was roundly won by Fox despite the lowest mark this season for "American Idol" (26.5 million, 10.2/36). "House" (22.4 million, 9.1/22) beat the "Dancing With the Stars" results show (16.5 million, 4.2/10). Fox also won Wednesday with another episode of "American Idol" (28.9 million, 11.2/28), which saw the departure of Sanjaya. ABC's "Lost" (12.1 million, 5.3/14) halted its recent declines at 10 p.m.

Thursday was won by ABC, headlined by "Grey's Anatomy" (21.1 million, 8.7/23), which had its second-lowest adults 18-49 rating of the season. The night was dotted with shows posting all-time lows: "Ugly Betty" (9.5 million, 3.0/9), "Shark" (12.5 million, 3.0/9) and "My Name Is Earl" (7.1 million, 3.0/10). "ER" (9.3 million, 3.8/11) wasn't a low in adults 18-49, but "CSI" (12.4 million, 3.2/8) was low for a repeat. "Survivor: Fiji" did a 4.5/13 in the demo, but its 13.3 million viewers was a season low.

Fox Sports won Saturday in the adults 18-49 demo with its NASCAR Nextel Cup telecast of the Subway Fresh Fit 500 (7 million, 2.7/9).

Sunday saw "Desperate Housewives" (15.9 million, 6.1/15) lead ABC to a win in viewership and the demo despite equaling its lowest-ever demo rating. Numbers for "The Amazing Race" (8.7 million, 2.8/8) also were its lowest so far this season, while "The Simpsons" (6.5 million, 3.0/9) neared its 400th episode with its lowest-rated original ever. NBC's "The Apprentice: Los Angeles" (8 million, 3.2/8), on the other hand, finished its run ahead of its prior season average.

Ratings for the week ending Sunday were released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

For the week, Fox averaged 10.3 million viewers and a 3.9/12 in adults 18-49, followed by CBS (9.6 million, 2.6/7), ABC (9.5 million, 3.3/9), NBC (6.2 million, 2.1/6) and the CW (3 million, 1.3/3).