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ER Spoils CBS' Thursday Sweep

CBS was the top broadcast network in prime time in the adults 18-49 demographic, but NBC ruined CBS' usual Thursday-night sweep. After CBS won at 8 and 9 p.m., NBC's ER edged out CBS' Without a Trace at 10 p.m., according to Nielsen fast national data.

ER, the night's old lion, finished with a 6.5 rating/12 share in the demo, thanks to a surge in the show's last half hour. Without a Trace notched a 6.2/16. ER was up about four-tenths of a rating point week-to-week, while Trace was down about the same amount. ABC's 10 p.m. entrant, Primetime, was a nonfactor at 2.2/6.(Since fast national data are based on time period results, the performances of programs and networks could change when final ratings information is released.)

CBS overwhelmingly won the night with an average 7.2/19 in prime time, followed by NBC at 4.8/13. The WB (and its dependable Smallville) pulled off something of a coup: a third-place finish (2.2/6) over ABC, which averaged 2.0/5. UPN placed fifth with a 1.4/4 and Fox's double-shot of fall reruns (it's baseball playoff time, after all) was in last at 1.0/3.

At 8-9 p.m., CBS' Survivor tallied a 6.1/17, double that of its nearest competitor, The WB's Smallville 2.9/8 (up from 2.5/7 last week). NBC's Joey finished about even week-to-week with a 2.8/8. Everybody Hates Chris (2.1/6) took a slight drop from its performance last week (2.5/7) and finished behind ABC's limping, hour-long Alias (2.2/6).CBS made it two in a row with a victory from 9-10 p.m. CSI was the top-rated show of the night, turning in a whopping 9.3/24. NBC's Trump version of The Apprentice scored a 4.8/12. Night Stalker dropped down a few more notches, finishing with a 1.7/4 (down from a 2.0/5 last week).