NBC Tops CBS in Thursday Night Battle


No one sings, but CBS’s CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is actually the show to beat in prime time.

On Thursday night, the show hauled in its biggest audience ever, drawing nearly 31 million viewers. That makes it the most-watched show on TV, even beating Fox’s American Idol.

Thursday continues to be a battle of the titans, as CBS and NBC slug it out. NBC emerged the victor in adults 18-49, the only demographic the network claims to care about, while CBS held the advantage among viewers.

At 8 p.m., a super-sized episode of Phoebe’s wedding on Friends dominated in all categories, with 25.9 million viewers and an 11.4 rating/29 share among adults 18-49, according to Nielsen.

CBS’s Survivor: All-Stars took second with 22.45 million viewers and an 8.1/21 among adults 18-49. Survivor grew in its second half-hour, after Friends ended at 8:45 p.m.

At 9 p.m., CSI took over, with NBC’s The Apprentice in second place with 18.5 million viewers and a 9.1/22 in adults 18-49. CSI won adults 18-49 with a 10.3/24.

At 10 p.m., much of the audience returned to NBC and ER, which attracted nearly 22 million viewers and a 10.1/26 in adults 18-49. In second place, CBS’s Without A Trace delivered a best-ever ratings performance with 20.12 million viewers, a 6.3/16 in adults 18-49 and a 8.3/19 in adults 25-54.

For the night, according to Nielsen Media Research, NBC won its second Thursday of the February sweeps with a 10.0/25, followed by CBS with an 8.3/20. ABC was in distant third with a 2.2/6, followed by UPN at 2.1/5, Fox at 2.0/5 and The WB at 1.1/3.

In total viewers, CBS won with 24.6 million, followed by NBC at 21.5 million. ABC again was in third with 7.3 million, followed by UPN with 5.4 million, Fox with 4.4 million and The WB with 2.6 million.