Originally created 03/31/04

NBC's "Crossing Jordan" a strong ratings performer in return



NEW YORK -- Absence apparently made television viewers fonder of Jill Hennessy and her NBC drama "Crossing Jordan."

The show has been an unexpectedly strong performer for the network since its return to the air March 7. The 14.7 million people who watched last week was well above last season's average of 10.6 million viewers.

NBC rewarded "Crossing Jordan" this week with an early pickup order for a new season.

The drama had gone 10 months without new episodes during Hennessy's maternity leave. She gave birth to a son, Marco, in September.

"The Apprentice" continues to climb the Nielsen Media Research rankings for NBC, scoring a series-high 22.8 million viewers Thursday. Its performance was helped by the pre-emption of CBS' competing "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" for NCAA basketball.

Only Fox's juggernaut, "American Idol," was more popular last week than Donald Trump's boardroom game.

Fourth-place ABC continues to tumble in the ratings. Of the 32 prime-time shows to earn an audience of 10 million or more last week, only one - "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" - was on ABC.

CBS, with five of the week's 10 top shows, won the week with an average of 11.5 million viewers (7.6 rating, 13 share). NBC averaged 10.9 million (7.2, 12).

Fox averaged 9.8 million viewers (6.0, 10), but narrowly beat NBC for supremacy among the 18-to-49-year-old demographic. ABC had 8 million (5.2, 9), UPN 3.3 million (2.2, 4), the WB 2.7 million (1.9, 3) and Pax TV 1 million (0.7, 1).

NBC's "Nightly News" won the evening news ratings race, averaging 10.3 million viewers (7.1 rating, 15 share). ABC's "World News Tonight" had 9.3 million (6.5, 13) and the "CBS Evening News" 7.7 million (5.4, 11).

A ratings point represents 1,084,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 108.4 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

Prime-time viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen Media Research for March 22-28. Listings include the week's ranking, with viewership for the week and season-to-date rankings in parentheses. An "X" in parentheses denotes a one-time-only presentation.

1. (2) "American Idol" (Tuesday), Fox, 27 million viewers.

2. (7) "The Apprentice," NBC, 22.8 million viewers.

3. (3) "American Idol" (Wednesday), Fox, 20.4 million viewers.

4. (9) "CSI: Miami," CBS, 20.3 million viewers.

5. (11) "Everybody Loves Raymond," CBS, 18 million viewers.

6. (16) "60 Minutes," CBS, 16.7 million viewers.

7. (X) "Survivor: All-Stars" (Wednesday), CBS, 16.7 million viewers.

8. (4) "Friends," NBC, 16.7 million viewers.

9. (15) "Two and a Half Men," CBS, 16.4 million viewers.

10. (15) "Will & Grace," NBC, 15.9 million viewers.

11. (26) "Fear Factor," NBC, 15.3 million viewers.

12. (13) "Law & Order," NBC, 15 million viewers.

13. (21) "Crossing Jordan," NBC, 14.7 million viewers.

14. (22) "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," NBC, 14.4 million viewers.

15. (18) "Cold Case," CBS, 14.3 million viewers.

16. (6) "ER," NBC, 13.6 million viewers.

17. (35) "Las Vegas," NBC, 13.6 million viewers.

18. (34) "King of Queens," CBS, 13 million viewers.

19. (29) "Still Standing," CBS, 12.1 million viewers.

20. (45) "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," ABC, 11.9 million viewers.

On the Net:

http://www.nielsenmedia.com