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Sep 26, 2003  •  Post A Comment

O’Donnell Finds a Home at CBS

Chris O’Donnell signed a talent holding and development deal with CBS. Mr. O’Donnell, best known for his feature film work, could end up starring in a pilot for next season or a comedy or drama project specifically developed for the actor. Mr. O’Donnell appears in the first three episodes of ABC’s “The Practice” as a man accused of murdering his pregnant wife.

NBC Wins Thursday in Demo, Runs Neck and Neck with CBS in Total Viewers: In the first Thursday battle of the new season NBC won the night in adults 18 to 49 (10.3/27) and total viewers (21.2 million), but CBS was right on its heels in total viewers with 21 million, according to Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate data. The ranking in total viewers could change when final national numbers become available later today.

NBC won every half-hour in adults 18 to 49 except 9:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., when CBS’s “CSI” (9.4/24) beat NBC’s new sitcom “Coupling” (8.0/12). “Coupling’s” debut was comparable to the premiere of “Good Morning, Miami” in that time slot last year. “Coupling” was down 10 percent in rating (8.0 to “Miami’s” 8.9) but had the same 20 share and its retention from “Will & Grace” was about the same.

CBS’s “CSI” was the most-watched show of the night with 26.6 million total viewers. It also won the hour in adults 18 to 49 with a 9.7/24 to NBC’s 9.1/22 for “Will & Grace”/”Coupling.”

NBC’s “Friends” kicked off its final season with a supersized 48-minute episode that won its time slot in adults 18 to 49 (11.5/33) and total viewers (23 million). CBS’s “Survivor,” which aired against “Friends” and part of “Will & Grace,” finished a strong second in its time slot with a 7.2/20 in adults 18 to 49 and 19.3 million total viewers.

The 10 p.m. battle was won by NBC’s “ER,” which posted a 10.4/27 in adults 18 to 49 and 22.8 million total viewers. It beat CBS’s second-place “Without a Trace” by a 79 percent margin in adults 18 to 49. However, “Trace,” which often beat “ER” in reruns this summer, did cut into “ER’s” advantage. A year ago, “ER” beat “Trace” by 7.4 rating points in adults 18 to 49 and by 10.5 million viewers. Last night, “ER’s” advantage in adults 18 to 49 was 4.6 rating points and 5.8 million total viewers.

ABC’s “Threat Matrix,” which aired its third episode, was hit by “Survivor” and the return of “Friends,” managing only a 1.6/5 in adults 18 to 49 and 6.6 million total viewers. That’s down from last week’s 2.2/6 and 7.6 million total viewers.

UPN beat The WB for the third night in a row, with “WWE Smackdown” scoring a 1.5/4 in adults 18 to 49 and 3.8 million viewers compared with The WB’s 0.9/2 and 2.4 million viewers for its comedy block. The WB lost viewers every half-hour last night.

For the night, NBC won adults 18 to 49 by a 36 percent margin with a 10.3/27, followed by CBS (7.6/20), ABC (2.3/6), Fox (1.9/5), UPN (1.5/4) and The WB (0.9/2). In total viewers, NBC (21.2 million) was slightly ahead of CBS (21 million), followed by ABC (7 million), Fox (4.2 million), UPN (3.8 million) and The WB (0.9/2 million).