CBS ruled the Nielsen Media Research overnight prime-time ratings Thursday with an 8.9/22 (25 million viewers) in the 18-49 demo, its highest-rated night of the sweeps so far.
The network's strong performance was driven by the premiere of the latest installment of Survivor at 8-9 (9.0/23)--up 15% over the last incarnation--and an even stronger performance from CSI (10.8/26, 30.4 million viewers) at 9. Both shows were up over their previous-week performance.
Michael Jackson may be all over the news these days, but that did not translate to sweeps ratings for ABC.
It's highly-promoted two-hour special on the troubled singer, promising new insights, managed only a 3.0 rating/7 share in the 18-49 demo Thursday night for a distant third-place in its 9-11 p.m. time period and a third place finish for ABC on the night with a 2.6/7, just edging ABC averaged the week before with Extreme Makeover and Prime Time.
NBC was second on the night with a 6.6/16 for Joey (4.0/11, Will & Grace (4.3/11), Apprentice (7.1/17) and Without a Trace (6.5/17).
Fox was fourth by an eyelash with a 2.5/6 for young-skewing dramas The O.C. and Point Pleasant. UPN was fifth (1.9/5) on the scripted strength of its WWE wrestlers, while The WB was sixth, with a .9/2 for movie, She's All That.