“Idol,” “Bachelor” Top Ratings, But CBS Wins Week

LOS ANGELES -- Fox's three "American Idol" broadcasts won the top three primetime slots last week, while ABC drew its largest audience in five-plus years for "The Bachelor," but CBS' strength in scripted shows made it the most-watched network for the 18th time in the 24-week season.
With 10 of the week's top 16 programs, CBS averaged 11.23 million viewers for its primetime programming between March 2 and Sunday, according to figures from Nielsen Media Research on Tuesday.

Fox Broadcasting, which finished first both of the previous two weeks, averaged 11.2 million viewers.

ABC finished third, averaging 7.97 million viewers, followed by NBC with 6.02 million.

The CW was fifth with 1.8 million viewers, and My Network TV was sixth with 1.62 million viewers.

The ratings are for 22 hours of programming for all the networks, except Fox (15 hours, 5 minutes), The CW (13 hours) and My Network TV (12 hours).

A guest appearance on CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" by singer/songwriter Taylor Swift helped make the show the week's most-watched scripted program. It was also the fourth most-watched program overall, with 20.88 million viewers, the most since William Petersen's final episode Jan. 15.

CBS was also bolstered by an "NCIS" rerun which was eighth overall with 13.67 million viewers, behind only "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and CBS' "Two and a Half Men" among scripted programs, and its most-watched Saturday with regularly scheduled programming since November 2006.

Four hours of programming of "The Bachelor" helped ABC increase its audience 8 percent over the previous week. The two-hour season finale of "The Bachelor" last Monday was sixth for the week with 15.48 million, the most for a finale of "The Bachelor" since Nov. 19, 2003. "The Bachelor: After The Final Rose" which followed the finale was fifth for the week with 17.47 million viewers, the most for an "After The Final Rose" program.

A second "After The Final Rose" won its Tuesday 10-11 p.m. time slot with 10.9 million viewers, finishing 20th for the week.

Following the 1-2-3 sweep by "American Idol," Fox's most-watched programs were "24," 17th with 11.14 million viewers, and "Lie to Me," 26th with 10.2 million.

NBC continued its season-long struggle to attract viewers. Its most-watched program was "The Biggest Loser," 35th overall with 8.95 million viewers. NBC fared better among viewers ages 18-49, the group it, ABC and Fox target and advertisers pay a premium for. NBC had five of the 25 most-watched programs in the category, topped by "The Office," which was 10th in the category.

Fox finished first for the fifth consecutive week among viewers ages 18-49, and also led among viewers ages 12-17, 18-34 and 25-54. As usual, CBS was first among viewers ages 55 and older.

The week's most-watched cable program was the Nickelodeon teen comedy "iCarly," with 6.3 million viewers, which would have placed it 51st among the programs shown on the five major broadcast networks. USA had each of the next four most-watched primetime cable programs, "Burn Notice," 70- and 60-minutes segments of "Monday Night Raw" professional wrestling programming and a rerun of "NCIS" to be the most-watched cable network in primetime for the ninth consecutive week, averaging 3.06 million viewers.

The "NBC Nightly News" was the most-watched network newscast for the 21st consecutive week, averaging 9.3 million viewers. ABC's "World News with Charles Gibson" was second, averaging 8.14 million viewers while "The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric" averaged 6.44 million to finish third for the 128th consecutive week.

As usual, Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network, averaging 3.73 million viewers for its primetime programming. Telemundo was in its customary second-place position, averaging 1.13 million, followed by Telefutura with 680,000 and Azteca America with 160,000.

The week's 10 most-watched primetime programs were Fox Broadcasting's Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday "American Idol" episodes; CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation"; ABC's "The Bachelor: After The Final Rose" and "The Bachelor"; CBS' "Two and a Half Men" and "NCIS"; ABC's "Desperate Housewives" and CBS' "CSI: Miami."

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