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CBS, NBC duel for Thursday

CBS continues to narrow the ratings gap with NBC on Thursday nights,
according to the Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate ratings report for Oct.

In fact, CBS overtook NBC in the circulation battle, winning both households
and total viewers. And it was a competitive second in the key adult demos, where
it has gained ground on NBC steadily since the start of the new season.

At 8 p.m., Friends on NBC easily won the key ratings categories,
drawing almost 26 million viewers versus 18 million for the first half of
Survivor on CBS.

The tables turned at 8:30 p.m., however, as Scrubs fell off its
Friends lead-in by 7 million viewers, while Survivor added about 5
million viewers in its second half-hour. The audience shift gave the second half
of Survivor a victory in households, viewers and adults 18 through 49 and
25 through 54, while Scrubs held on to win adults 18 through 34.

From 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., CSI: Crime Scene Investigation dominated most of the key ratings categories
with the exception of adults 18 through 34, who stuck with the NBC comedies,
Will & Grace and Good Morning, Miami. But CSI, with an
average audience of 30 million viewers, was the most-watched show of the night,
taking that crown from Friends for the first time this season.

At 10 p.m., NBC regained the top spot with ER, which won both the
circulation and key demo contests. Without a Trace on CBS had a firm hold
on second place across the key categories, but well behind ER.

All night long, ABC (with Monk, the now-canceled Push, Nevada
and PrimeTime Live) and Fox (with Major League Baseball playoffs) battled mightily for bragging
rights to a very distant third place. Fox won that battle, but not by much.

For the night, the household ratings: CBS 14.1/22, NBC 14.0/22, Fox 5.5/9 and
ABC 4.2/6.

Adults 18 through 49: NBC 10.7/27, CBS 8.4/21, Fox 2.6/6 and ABC 1.7/4.

Adults 25 through 54: NBC 10.9/25, CBS 9.7/22, Fox 3.0/7 and ABC 2.0/5.

Adults 18 through 34: NBC 11.0/31, CBS 6.8/19, Fox 1.7/5 and ABC 1.1/3.

In the weblet battle, UPN averaged a 4.7/7 (household) for its two-hour
SmackDown! wrestling show, which was up 7 percent week-to-week and good
enough to tie ABC for the night in Nielsen's metered markets.

The WB Television Network averaged a 2.2/3 for its Thursday-night comedy block, down about 8
percent from the previous week.