The Mouse had something to smile about Sunday night. ABC won the 18-49 demo with a 3.5 rating/10 share on the strengths of consistent performances from its reality and drama lineup. Sunday has been a bright spot for the struggling net, with ABC winning the night in three of the last four weeks in the key demo.
ABC won at 7-8 with America's Funniest Home Videos. Although that was the only hour it won, its solid seconds for the other three--Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (4.1/11), and dramas Alias (3.8/9) and The Practice (3.5/9--were enough to beat its less consistent rivals. The Practice had its highest 18-49 since November, according to ABC. The show is in its final story arc as it exits the schedule to make room for a new court drama using some of the same characters.
Fox's double runs of King of the Hill and The Simpsons, followed by Malcolm and the season finale of Arrested Development, powered it to a tie for second with NBC in 18-49's with a 3.2/9. NBC got there via a two-hour Dateline,Cold Case and Law & Order Criminal Intent. The two dramas won their time periods but could not overcome Dateline's third place finish over its two hours.
The disparity between the size of CBS' audience and its age was in sharp relief Sunday night.
60 Minutes was the clear winner in households at 7 with a 7.3 rating/14 share, but could only muster a 1.7/6 in the advertiser-targetted 18-49 demo.
CBS' Hallmark Hall of Fame special, Plainsong, from 8-10 was the most-watched program of the night by far, winning in households and pushing CBS to a dominant win for the night in that category with a 9.4 rating/15 share to second place NBC's 6.7/11. But in the 18-49 demo, its position was reversed, with CBS coming in last among the Big Four with a a 2.8 rating/8 share.
The WB averaged a 1.1/3 for the night. It led off with a repeat of High School Reunion at 8, which could only muster a .5 rating/2 share. It followed that with a new Charmed, which averaged a 1.5/4, then followed that with a High School Reunion original, which recorded a 1.4/3