The Midas Touchstone

Looks like Disney can't lose at 9-10 p.m. on Wednesday nights. Early in the day, CBS pointed out to the green-eyeshade types that its drama, Criminal Minds, had nipped Disney-owned ABC's Lost for total viewers in the time period for the first time.

But that was according to the early time-period returns that don't include some West Coast numbers.

By the end of the day, ABC was pointng out that, according to the final national ratings, it had actually nipped Minds with 16.3 million viewers to its 16.2.

Either way, Disney wins. That's because both Lost and Criminal Minds are from Disney's Touchstone studio.

So, in an unusual meld of competing ratings, ABC pointed out in its release that the two shows, together, "delivered 32.5 million total viewers at 9-10."

ABC will be able to recycle that good news for the syndicated cycles of both shows, when Touchstone, rather than CBS and ABC, is the moniker that matters come time to "deliver" the cash-plus-barter.

By John Eggerton