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Nets Give Sweeps a Low-Key Launch

May 7, 2007  •  Post A Comment

For the first week of May sweeps, broadcast networks stuck to business as usual, airing original episodes of their top shows with little additional fanfare.
No stunts or specials were on the docket, and most heavy-hitting finales are still to come later this month.
The status quo meant Fox maintained its lead among total viewers and adults 18 to 49, powered by “American Idol” and “House.”
Fox had a 4.1 rating in the demo, a fair distance ahead of ABC (3.4), CBS (3.1) and NBC (2.3). Univision grabbed fourth place with a 1.5, followed by May sweeps newbies The CW (1.3) and MyNetworkTV (0.3).
Compared with the first week of May sweeps last year, ABC fared the best among the major networks, up 3 percent. Fox was second, down 9 percent. CBS was third, down 16 percent. NBC was fourth, down a steep 26 percent. The CW matched its progenitor The WB compared with last year and was up 8 percent versus UPN, its other parent.
The sweeps period, when ratings are used to help set advertising rates for television stations, kicked off Thursday, April 26, with ABC winning the night thanks to “Grey’s Anatomy” (8.2, a season low), while lead-out “October Road” concluded its six-episode run on a relatively solid note (4.2). “Grey” competitor “CSI” also had a rough night, airing its lowest original in six years (5.9). On NBC, the season finale of “30 Rock” was modest (2.4).
On Friday, CBS won the night with three of the top five shows. On NBC, “Identity” (1.5) and “Raines” (1.4) had humble season finales.
ABC topped Sunday night, with “Desperate Housewives” (2.8) enjoying its highest rating in nearly two months. “The Simpsons” (3.9) and “Family Guy” (4.1) gave Fox a second-place finish. NBC running theatricals on Sunday got off to a sluggish start with “Along Came Polly” (1.6).
On Monday, ABC once again ruled thanks to “Dancing With the Stars” (4.9) and “The Bachelor” (3.7). CBS’s “How I Met Your Mother” (2.8) hit a season low, while the rest of the comedy block showed gains. Fox’s “24” (4.1) continued its slump despite having a “House” repeat as lead-in instead of the now-canceled “Drive.”
Fox shot into the lead Tuesday with “American Idol” (10.2) and “House” (8.8), garnering more than twice as many viewers as second-place CBS. ABC’s “Dancing” results show (4.1) and 10 p.m. winner “Law & Order: SVU” (4.1) tied for third place for the night.
On Wednesday, Fox’s “Idol” dominated yet again (10.8), showing an increase from last week. On CBS, “Jericho” (2.2) was on par with recent low-rated airings. On ABC, freshman sitcom “Notes From the Underbelly” showed some growth (2.3) without “Idol” in its time period. The CW’s “One Tree Hill” (1.5) had its best performance since December in key demographics.
With its new programming mix of movies, specials and telenovelas, MyNetworkTV averaged a 0.3 rating for the week, up a tick from its 0.2 February sweeps average, but on par with its November performance.

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