ABC Tops Feb. Sweeps, Fox a Close Second

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February Sweeps 2006 have come to an end, and ABC gets the crown.

Boosted by Super Bowl ratings on Feb. 5, the network took February with an average 5.3 rating/13 share in the 18-49 demo. That was up 29% from February 2005 (although down 2% when excluding the Super Bowl numbers. However, last year's sweeps included the Academy Awards, which helped account for ABC's big numbers. When taking the Super Bowl and Academy Awards numbers out of the mix, ABC was up 10% in the demo.).

Fox was in a close second place—with numbers heightened by the spectacular performance of American Idol—with a 5.1/13. But that was actually down 22% from last year (although up 9% when Super Bowl numbers were excluded).

In third place this sweeps period was NBC with a 4.9/12, despite its Olympics coverage (the network that carries the Olympics usually wins sweeps). But despite the disappointing finish, the Games did boost the peacock network 36% year-to-year.

CBS came in fourth with a 3.5/9, down 8% from last year. It broadcast mostly reruns, so it wasn't really in the sweeps game. Says Kelly Kahl, CBS executive VP, scheduling and program planning, “Sweeps didn’t hold a whole lot of meaning for us.”

Univision was fifth for its first sweeps year with a 1.8/5.

The WB was flat compared to February 2005, with a 1.4/3, and UPN was down 21% with a 1.1/3. In February 2007, they will no longer be in the sweeps race, as the two will have merged to form The CW.

Telemundo’s 0.5/1 put it in last place this sweeps, its first year being counted.--Ben Grossman contributed to this report

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