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MAGNA update eyes ups and downs

According to Magna Global USA's just-released update on the season-to-date ratings, midway through the May sweeps, the rankings in the Nielsen Media Research household ratings race are "a reflection of season to date."

The report covers 32 weeks of data collected through May 4.

The report said, "CBS leads the way among households, followed by NBC, with Fox and ABC neck-and-neck for third."

In the demographic races, NBC is slightly ahead of Fox in adults 18 through 49 sweeps-to-date and season-to-date, with Fox dominant among persons 12 through 34 during both periods, according to MAGNA.

The biggest changes compared with the May 2002 ratings, MAGNA noted, are Fox's gains (fueled by American Idol: Search for a Superstar) and NBC's losses (with a noteworthy falloff by medical drama ER).

On the cable side, Interpublic Group of Cos.' media-buying unit reported that 28 basic networks improved in household ratings over last season, 23 grew in the 12-through-34 demo and 20 increased in adults 18 through 49.