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Sweeps Also-Ran ABC Has Good Week

Although ABC remains in fourth place in all key ratings measures, Super Millionaire, Mel Gibson and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition helped the network to its best week in nearly two months during the week ended Feb. 22.

Last Monday night, 17 million viewers watched Diane Sawyer discuss Mel Gibson’s controversial new movie The Passion of the Christ on PrimetimeMonday. That interview drew ABC’s largest non-sports audience and best adult 18-49 rating in more than two years.

Sunday night’s Super Millionaire was the most-watched program of the evening with 17.5 million viewers and a 5.7 rating/13 share in adults 18-49. Extreme Makeover:Home Edition provided a strong lead-in with 10.8 million viewers and a 3.9/9 in adults 18-49, beating CBS’s Cold Case in the demo.

CBS continues to be most-watched network, with its regularly scheduled programming bringing in viewers in droves. CSI, Without A Trace, Everybody LovesRaymond, and Survivor: All-Stars all turned in top performances to give CBS the weekly win in viewers and households, second place in adults 25-54 and third place in adults 18-49.

NBC was in the its lead for the week in adults 18-34, 18-49, and 25-54. Veterans ER and Friends topped the 18-49 list, while Fear Factor and The Apprentice turned in strong performances for NBC, giving it the weekly win in 18-49.

Over at Fox, American Idol, the penultimate episode of My Big Fat ObnoxiousFiancé,and The O.C. are keeping the network in the race, with Fox in second place in adults 18-49 for the week. For the February sweeps, Fox is in third place in adults 18-49 with a 3.8/10, behind CBS with a 4.4/12. NBC leads the sweeps in the demo with a 5.0/13.

For the week, NBC lead in adults 18-49 with a 5.1/14, followed by Fox at a 4.2/11, CBS at a 3.9/10, ABC at a 3.3/9 and The WB and UPN tied for fifth with a 1.7/4 each. In total viewers, CBS leads with 13.6 million, followed by NBC with 12.8 million, Fox with 9.7 million, ABC with 9.2 million, The WB with 4.2 million and UPN with 4 million.

Season-to-date, NBC is maintaining its lead in adults 18-49 but by a very narrow margin, with a 4.2/12 to CBS’s 4.1/11. Fox is right behind with a 4.0/11. In fourth place, ABC is at 3.4/9, followed by The WB with a 1.5/4 and UPN with a 1.4/4.

The season’s total viewer race is much less of a nail-biter, with CBS leading the season with 13.8 million viewers, followed by NBC with 11 million. Fox is in third with 9.8 million, followed by ABC with 9.4 million. The WB narrowly squeezes out UPN for fifth with 3.8 million and UPN is in sixth with 3.5 million viewers.