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Fox, NBC in Wednesday knot

In a hotly contested night for the key Nielsen Media Research demos, Fox and
NBC tied for first among adults 18 through 49 Wednesday night, while CBS was
just one-tenth of a rating point behind in second place.

Fox won the adults 18-through-34 battle, while NBC won adults 25 through 54, households and total viewers.

From 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., ABC and NBC were neck-and-neck in the key adult demos,
tied for adults 18 through 49 and within one-tenth of a rating point of each other
with adults 18 through 34 and 25 through 54.

ABC used back-to-back runs of My Wife & Kids against NBC's repeat
of the Tonight Show 10th AnniversarySpecial.

The big ratings battle among original shows for the night was between Fox and
CBS from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The debut of Big Brother III on CBS duked it out with Fox's summer hit,
American Idol, and they essentially fought to a split decision. CBS won the
household race and total viewers. Fox narrowly won adults 18 through 49 (by
one-tenth of a rating point) and also won among adults 18 through 34, kids and
teens. CBS won with adults 25 through 54.

At 10 p.m., NBC opened up a lead with Law & Order, which won
across the key ratings categories.

For the night the Nielsen (fast affiliate) household numbers: NBC 6.2/11,
CBS 5.5/10, ABC 4.4/8 and Fox 4.3/8.

Total viewers: NBC 9 million, CBS 7.9 million, Fox 6.8 million and ABC 6.6

Adults 18 through 49: Fox 3/10, NBC 3/9, CBS 2.9/9 and ABC 2.6/8.

Adults 18 through 34: Fox 3/11, NBC 2.5/8, ABC 2.4/8 and CBS 2.2/8.

Adults 25 through 54: NBC 3.7/10, CBS 3.2/9, Fox 2.9/9 and ABC 2.9/8.