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ABC Reclaims Sunday as Football Fails NBC

Nov 20, 2006  •  Post A Comment

After an upset victory last week, football-fueled NBC fumbled to third place Sunday night in the preliminary Nielsens, while ABC reclaimed the top spot.

NBC’s airing of the “Sunday Night Football” game between the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos earned a 4.9 rating among adults 18 to 49, down from last week’s match between Chicago and New York. NBC trailed second-place CBS by only a tenth of a rating point, so NBC could shift into second place once the national numbers come in later Monday.

ABC has led Sunday night this season, but has been challenged in recent weeks by the NFL on NBC and by CBS’s crime procedurals. Its anchor, “Desperate Housewives,” won the night but hit a three-week low (8.6) at 9 p.m. (ET). At 10 p.m., “Brothers & Sisters” (5.5) delivered its best performance since its debut.

CBS was boosted by a half-hour of NFL overrun. Later, “Cold Case” at 9:30 (4.0) and “Without a Trace” at 10:30 (4.1) were on the high side.

Fox’s comedy block was stronger than usual, led by “Family Guy” (4.6) at 9 p.m. and “The Simpsons” (4.4) at 8 p.m., while The CW premiered “Reba” at 7 p.m. to a 1.3.

On Friday night, NBC won the night by relying on stalwart “Deal or No Deal” (3.4) instead of its new game show “1 vs. 100,” which will return this week. “Deal” was the top-rated show for the evening and provided a fine lead-in to “Las Vegas” (2.7) and “Law & Order” (3.0).

CBS was a close second with “Ghost Whisperer” (3.2), “Close to Home” (2.6) and “Numb3rs” (2.9).

ABC finished in third place with reruns and part two of the “Barbara Walters Special” (2.9).

Fox was fourth with two “Trading Spouses” episodes (1.4 and 1.7), followed closely by The CW with “Friday Night Smackdown!” (1.4).