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Sweeps Race: NBC by a Nose

May 12, 2003  •  Post A Comment

NBC edged past Fox by a tenth of a ratings point for first place in adults 18 to 49 after two full weeks of May sweeps, while ABC narrowed the gap with third-place CBS.
Thursday nights and the Law & Order franchise have been delivering for NBC. On Thursday, May 1, a night interrupted by President Bush’s address, NBC won the battle with CBS, pulling an 8.6/23 to CBS’s 6.8/19.
From Friday, May 2, through Sunday, May 4, the highest-rated show each night in adults 18 to 49 was some version of Law & Order. SVU scored a 4.8/15 Friday night, an SVU repeat pulled a 3.2/10 on Saturday night and a Criminal Intent repeat at 10 p.m. scored a 5.3/14 Sunday night, tying for first place with a repeat of The Simpsons at 8:30 p.m. and an original Malcolm in the Middle at 9 p.m.
Fox continues to dominate Tuesdays and Wednesdays with American Idol-infused lineups. Fox won last Tuesday night in adults 18 to 49 by a 130 percent margin over second-place ABC and won Wednesday night by a 42 percent margin over second-place ABC.
ABC gained on CBS with strong performances by its Tuesday sitcom lineup, The Bachelor-with a time-slot- winning 6.6/16 in adults 18 to 49-and the two-hour season finale of Alias (4.8/12).
Driven by its young-skewing Monday night and Thursday night lineups, CBS held on to third place in adults 18 to 49. CSI: Miami (5.7/14) and CSI (8.4/21) have given the network demo strength.
Fox and The WB are the only two networks up in adults 18 to 49 vs. the same period a year ago, with Fox gaining by 19 percent and The WB-powered by its Tuesday combo of Gilmore Girls and Smallville-posting 6 percent growth.
In total viewers, CBS holds a comfortable lead with an average of 12.3 million to NBC’s 11.4 million. Fox is the only network up in total viewers, with a 25 percent increase. UPN saw the biggest decreases in adults 18 to 49 (-22 percent) and total viewers (-17 percent).