ABC Wins Christmas-Week Ratings Battle


Granted, it was Christmas week -- always laden with specials, repeats and low TV-viewing levels -- but ABC and Fox marked firsts for week No. 14 (ended Dec. 28) of the 2003-04 season (and the final full week of competition for 2003).

ABC notched its first weekly win of the season among adults 18-49. Monday Night Football, NBA basketball between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets and the miniseries Dreamkeepers all helped propel the net to first place, as well as strong 18-49 performances from ABC’s Tuesday and Friday night comedy blocks. The net also won adults 25-54 for the week.

As for Fox, it won a Thursday night (where it barely registers a pulse most weeks) with part one of its World Idol special.

CBS said that the Dec. 28 60 Minutes, with a Michael Jackson interview, posted the show’s best ratings (18-49 and 25-54) since January 2000, while the Kennedy Center Honors posted its biggest audience since 1998. As usual, CBS won total viewers for the week (the network also leads the category for season-to-date).

Season-to-date, CBS has six of the top ten shows in total viewers, with CSI, TV’s most-watched show, followed by Survivor: Pearl Islands. NBC has three of the top ten, with ER, Friends and Law and Order, and ABC has one: Monday Night Football.

Season-to-date, NBC leads the 18-49 competition with a 4.4 rating. CBS was in second place at a 3.8, followed by ABC at 3.6, Fox at 3.0, The WB at 1.5 and UPN at 1.4. CBS leads among adults 25-54 and is down 3%, while second place NBC is down 11%.

Here are the season-to-date standings, according to Nielsen Media Research, among adults 18-49: NBC, 4.1 rating/11 share; CBS, 3.8/10; Fox, 3.7/10; ABC, 3.5/10; The WB and UPN, 1.5/4. Adults 25-54: CBS, 4.8/12; NBC, 4.7/12; ABC, 3.5/10; Fox, 3.9/10. Total viewers: CBS, 13.1 million; NBC, 10.7 million; ABC, 9.6 million; Fox, 9.4 million; The WB, 3.9 million; UPN, 3.5 million.