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NBC ekes out sweeps win

NBC barely wrapped its projected sweeps win among adults 18-49, soaring to a strong finish with its Wednesday night dynamic drama duo and a little New York City Christmas magic.

The potent combo of The West Wing and Law & Order carried the night and the tight fight for 18-49ers with Fox. But the final margin was razor thin: NBC averaged a 5.1 rating among 18-49ers through the sweeps to Fox's 5.0 rating.

NBC's White House drama led the dramatic finish with 20.7 million viewers and a 7.3 rating, 18 share among the 18-49 crowd in Nielsen fast national numbers. Law & Order followed with 20.2 million takers and a 7.6/20.

They both enjoyed a strong lead-in from NBC's coverage of the annual Christmas tree lighting from Rockefeller Center - a local event with national import this year - which drew 15.1 million viewers and a 4.1/11.

NBC averaged a 6.3 rating among 18-49ers, to ABC's 4.5 and Fox's 4.3. NBC easily took the night in total viewers too, with an average of 18.7 million to ABC's 10.9 million.

Up against West Wing, Fox's Bernie Mac drew 11.4 million viewers and a 5.1/13. Titus followed with 8.6 million viewers and a 4.0/10.

In the same time slot, CBS's Amazing Race showed some rating traction, with 9.8 million takers and a 4.2/11.

That topped the network's Garth Brooks: Coast to Coast special, which wasn't all that with just 8.7 million viewers and a 3.4/9.

But CBS was still coasting toward a total viewer victory in the Novermber sweeps. - Richard Tedesco