In what is working out to be a very competitive November sweeps, CBS has retained its lead in total viewers and surpassed NBC in the adults 18 to 49 demographic during the first full week of sweeps. But CBS may be just one of NBC’s problems, thanks to a hot-on-its-trail ABC.
So far, the biggest shakeup has been in the demo, where CBS averaged a 4.7 rating and 12 share from Nov. 4 to Nov. 10, according to Nielsen Media Research. That’s a 15 percent increase from CBS’s 4.1/11 seven-day sweeps average last year. NBC, which perennially has led the demo race and is down 9 percent in adults 18 to 49 from a 4.5/12 to a 4.1/11, is now tied with ABC, which is up 17 percent from last November’s 3.5/10. Fox is down 6 percent to a 2.9/8, while The WB is unchanged with a 1.6/04 and UPN is up 7 percent to tie The WB for fifth place.
CBS won the first night of sweeps in adults 18 to 49 with help from the highest-rated show of Thursday night, “CSI” (10.8/26). Friday, Nov. 5, was NBC’s, with the night’s top-rated “Medical Investigation” (3.5/11). Saturday belonged to Fox in the demo with “Cops” and “America’s Most Wanted” (3.1/9), while Sunday went to ABC with a strong “Desperate Housewives” (11.1/24). CBS took Monday with help from “CSI: Miami” (8.1/20) and Tuesday with the Country Music Awards telecast (5.9/15). ABC won Wednesday in the demo with a 5.2/13, but CBS had the highest-rated show in adults 18 to 49 for the night with “CSI: NY” (6.1/16).
For the first seven days of the November sweeps, the rank for networks by total viewers has remained the same compared with last year: CBS is first with 14.85 million, followed by NBC (10.97 million), ABC (10.69 million), Fox (6.51 million), The WB (3.87 million) and UPN (3.67 million). In terms of year-to-year comparisons, however, CBS is down 2 percent, NBC and The WB are both down 6 percent and Fox is down 11 percent. The network with the biggest yearly gain, thanks to audience interest in new offerings such as “Desperate Housewives,” “Lost” and “Wife Swap,” is ABC, which is up 8 percent among viewers. UPN also saw a gain in its total viewer number, albeit a more modest 1 percent.
NBC still retains first place among adults 18 to 34 with a 3.5/10, down 10 percent from last November. CBS is nipping at NBC’s heels, up 31 percent to a 3.4/10. ABC remains third, but has grown 22 percent to a 3.3/10, while Fox has slipped 3 percent from second to fourth place with a 3.1/9. The WB (1.8/5) and UPN (1.6/5) remain unchanged in adults 18 to 34.
The November sweeps concludes Dec. 1.