Another weekly split for ABC, CBS


NEW YORK -- ABC edged CBS for a second consecutive weekly win in the adults 18-49 demographic, though the Tiffany network again won the gold in viewership.

The new season seemed destined to fall into a familiar pattern from last year, with ABC and CBS duking it out in the demo while CBS draws the most viewers -- at least until "American Idol" returns in the fall. ABC was making it interesting, seeding Thursday with "Grey's Anatomy" and making the network a strong competitor for the night -- and its advertising dollars -- for the first time in years. And if "Ugly Betty" can maintain or build on its impressive debut, ABC will be in an even stronger position on the night.

"Betty" (16.3 million, 5.0/14) was looking pretty good for ABC with the year's top series premiere in viewership. "Grey's Anatomy" (23.5 million, 9.5/23) ceded the viewership title for the week to "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (23.8 million, 8.0/19), though "Grey's" continued to prevail in the demo. But the networks' stunning numbers -- combining for more than 47 million viewers between 9-10 p.m. Thursday -- didn't provide much help to either leadout, ABC's "Six Degrees" (10.1 million, 4.1/11) or CBS' "Shark" (14.6 million, 4.2/11). "Shark" was the hour's top show in viewership, but both it and "Degrees" fell to "ER" (14.4 million, 6.1/17), which continued to put up stunning numbers in its 13th season.

Sunday continued to go ABC's way, with "Desperate Housewives" (21.4 million, 8.6/20), "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (14.8 million, 5.7/14) and the new "Brothers and Sisters" (13.5 million, 5.3/13) combining to give the network the win in the demo that pushed it ahead of CBS. Meanwhile, "Sunday Night Football" (16.9 million, 6.7/17) gave NBC a narrow win in viewers against strong Sunday competition from CBS with "60 Minutes" (15.1 million, 3.7/10), "The Amazing Race" (11.7 million, 4.0/9), "Cold Case" (14.4 million, 3.9/9) and "Without a Trace" (14.5 million, 4.4/12).

If "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" (10.8 million, 4.2/11) continues to slide -- and it did so again Monday -- "Heroes" (14.1 million, 5.9/14) looks like a solid hit for NBC at 9 p.m. Monday, overtaking in the demo both "Two and a Half Men" (15.3 million, 4.8/12) and "The New Adventures of Old Christine" (12.2 million, 3.8/9). CBS' 10 p.m. "CSI: Miami" (17.8 million, 5.8/15) continues to trounce the competition, but both "The Class" (8.5 million, 2.9/8) and "How I Met Your Mother" (9.1 million, 3.4/9) fell to NBC's "Deal or No Deal" (13 million, 3.8/10) in the 8-9 p.m. hour.

Yet "Deal," on three times last week, seemed to run out of gas later in the week, with 9.5 million viewers and a 3.2/8 in the unenviable position of going up against "Grey's" and "CSI" and 10.4 million viewers and a 2.8/10 on Friday where it was beaten by "Ghost Whisperer" (9.7 million, 2.9/11) in the demo during the hour.

On Wednesday, "CSI: NY" (16.2 million, 5.2/14) anchored a strong night for CBS with "Jericho" (11.5 million, 3.6/11) and "Criminal Minds" (16.5 million, 4.9/13) combining to win against ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" (15.8 million, 4.1/12) and a special edition of "20/20" (13.5 million, 5.2/14). "Dancing" (17.9 million, 5.2/14) remained strong for ABC, though Fox's "House" (14.5 million, 6.1/17) won in the demo, and NBC's "Law and Order: SVU" (14.4 million, 5.0/14) also was strong.

Fox seemed down for the count in the week before postseason baseball took over its schedule, with "Happy Hour" a distant memory and " 'Til Death" being held back for retooling. The network has seen limited success with its fall schedule so far; "House" is its only entry in the top 25 in the demo. But the network is destined to push it into gear in January, when "Idol" returns no matter what postseason baseball delivers in the fall.

The CW finished the week with a disappointing fashion, with "Girlfriends" (2.7 million, 1.3/3) the high point of the night. But the network pointed out that it was up 21% in adults 18-34 and 29% in women 18-34 compared with WB Network's week a year ago. But it's down one-tenth of a rating point and 6% in viewership compared with UPN, though UPN had fewer hours of programming compared with the CW's 13 hours a week.

Weekly averages: ABC (11.5 million, 4.0/13), CBS (12.8 million, 3.9/11), NBC (10.4 million, 3.7/10), Fox (6.5 million, 2.6/7) and the CW (3.5 million, 1.5/4).