After Monday night's Joe Millionaire blowout,
Fox took its first clear-cut lead in this very competitive February sweeps,
beating NBC by almost 0.6 of a ratings point in adults 18 through 49 (an average
5.6 rating/14 share vs. NBC's 5.0/13 through Monday night), according to Nielsen
Media Research's preliminary fast nationals.
Fox is dominating in adults 18 through 34 (5.9/17), and it is third in viewers
with 11.9 million.
Fox is likely to stay on top in the key 18-through-49 demographic because of
several big events coming up, including a follow-up special on Joe
Millionaire next Monday night and this Thursday's special in which Michael
Jackson rebuts the report with Martin Bashir that ABC has twice aired.
Fox is getting strong performances from its Sunday-night shows, led by The
Simpsons, while last Sunday night's Married . with Children Reunion also scored big ratings.
After last Thursday night's performance, CBS has taken a strong lead in
viewers, leading with 13.3 million to NBC's 12.6 million.
Remaining weapons in CBS' arsenal are the Grammy Awards this Sunday night, which
is sure to draw in a large audience, and the premiere of Nia Vardalos' My Big
Fat Greek Life Monday, Feb. 24.
CBS is in fourth place in adults 18 through 49 with a 3.7/9.
ABC is in fourth place in viewers with 10.6 million, and in third place in
adults 18 through 49 with a 3.9/10, just ahead of CBS.
Still up ABC's sleeve are the season finale of The Bachelorette coming
this Wednesday night and a Bachelor tell-all special Thursday.
Also Wednesday, ABC will premiere reality show I'm a Celebrity -- Get Me Out of Here, which will run for 15 straight days, eight
of them during the sweeps.
Sweeps only has one more week to go, wrapping up
Wednesday, Feb. 26.