Mouse Wins Squeaker

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Sunday night's prime-time ratings race in 18-49s was the closest in a little more than a month of Sundays. The spread between first and last among the top four networks was three-tenths of a rating point and 1 share point.

Squeaking out a victory was The Mouse, with ABC averaging a 3.5/10 for the night thanks largely to first-place finishes from America's Funniest Home Videos at 7-8 (2.3/9) and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition at 8-9 (4.3/12).

The return of Super Millionaire didn't do such super numbers at 9-10, despite a carryover contestant from the February sweeps who wound up winning a cool half-million bucks. The show came in fourth in the demo with a 3.5/10.

ABC's longtime drama, The Practice, went out with a whimper at 10. It's series-ending episode was last in the time period with a 3.5/9.

CBS came in second with a 3.4/10 for the night in the 18-49 demo. It would have come in first with a little more help from the older-skewing 60 Minutes at 7-8. Although the show had the most viewers by a wide margin, its 18-49 number, a 1.6/6, put it in fourth in the time period.

CBS' three-hour take on the Manson Murders, Helter Skelter, built steadily over those three hours, but won only the 10-11 time period, with a 4.6/12 to NBC's 4.3/11 for Crossing Jordan.

Fox was third for the night with a 3.3/10 for repeats of King of the Hill, That 70's Show and The Simpsons, plus an original Simpsons and Malcolm.

NBC was fourth with a 3.2 for two hours worth of Dateline, plus Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Crossing Jordan. Law & Order was the Peacock's top performer, winning its 8-9 time period with a 4.3/11.

The WB averaged a 1.6/5 at 7-10 for Smallville and Charmed.

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