ABC’s thriller, Lost, creamed its competition Wednesday night, with the network finding itself tops in the key 18-49 demo.
Lost reeled in 16.6 million viewers and a 6.2 rating in 18-49s, which was a slight dip from last week’s Nielsen marks, according to preliminary Nielsen ratings.
ABC can now toast the show as a bona-fide hit. Unfortunately, ABC’s Bachelor lost half of its lead-in audience from Lost, dipping to 9.3 million viewers and a 3.8 in 18-49s. Well-received reality show Wife Swap ticked up at 10 p.m., though, with 9.8 million viewers and a 4.2 rating in 18-49s.
Lost is generally helped by the relatively weak competition in the 8 p.m. hour against CBS’ older-skewing 60 Minutes and NBC’s sluggish cop drama, Hawaii, though The WB’s Smallville and UPN’s Next Top Model both posted strong marks last night.
As Wednesday nights progress, the competition will get more intense as Fox debuts its new shows and Law & Order returns to the NBC lineup. CBS and NBC both opted for reruns in the 9 p.m. hour this week, with a CSI: Miami repeat beating out a Law & Order: SVU rerun.
CSI: Miami nabbed 13.8 million viewers and a 4.6 in 18-49s, while SVU attracted 10.1 million viewers and a 3.5 in the demo. UPN’s sexy legal drama, Kevin Hill, drew 4.3 million viewers and a 2.0 in 18-49s.
In the competitive 10 p.m. hour, CBS’ CSI: N.Y. once again bested NBC’s Law & Order. CSI: N.Y. cooled down a bit compared to previous weeks, but still commanded 16.5 million viewers and a strong 6.0 in 18-49s. Law & Order turned in 12.3 million viewers and a 4.3 in 18-49s, just narrowly edging out Wife Swap in the demo..
Fox, which is not premiering its new shows until the baseball season is over, averaged a 3.0 in the demo for the night and 6.1 million viewers for two repeats of Bernie Mac and new episodes of Quintuplets and That 70's Show.
The tale of the tape in 18-49s for the night was: ABC, 4.7/13; CBS, 4.2/11; NBC, 3.3/9; Fox, 3.0/8; WB, UPN, 2.2/76; and WB, 1.5/4.