Originally created 05/05/04

Earthquake tale helps NBC to ratings win



NEW YORK -- Impressive ratings for NBC's earthquake tale, "10.5," helped the network eke out a victory over CBS in the first week of the important May ratings sweeps.

Despite poor reviews, part one of the miniseries about a catastrophic California earthquake was seen by 20.7 million viewers on Sunday. That was the highest-rated movie on NBC in five years.

The ratings held up for the second part on Monday, drawing 19.6 million viewers.

NBC averaged 12.1 million viewers in prime time for the week, beating CBS' 11.8 million (both 7.9 ratings, 13 shares). NBC easily won among viewers aged 18-to-49, the demographic group it most cares about.

The second-to-last episode of "Friends" was seen by 24.5 million viewers last Thursday. NBC is expecting more than twice as many viewers to show up for the series finale this week.

Hit-starved ABC had a rare appearance in Nielsen's top 20 with "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," with 13.1 million viewers. Last Thursday's edition of "Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital" drew shockingly bad numbers, though, seen by less than 2.6 million viewers.

Powered by "American Idol," Fox earned third place with an 8.9 million prime-time average (5.6 rating, 9 share). ABC had 7.9 million (5.2, 9), the WB had 3.7 million (2.5, 4), UPN had 2.7 million (1.9, 3) and Pax TV had 950,000 (0.7, 1).

NBC's "Nightly News" won the evening news ratings race, averaging 9.5 million viewers (6.6 rating, 14 share). ABC's "World News Tonight" had 8.5 million (6.1, 13) and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.8 million (4.9, 10).

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 April 26-May 2. 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. (1) "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," CBS, 26.4 million viewers.

2. (5) "Friends," NBC, 24.5 million viewers.

3. (2) "American Idol" (Tuesday) Fox, 24.4 million viewers.

4. (3) "American Idol" (Wednesday) Fox, 22.3 million viewers.

5. (6) "ER," NBC, 22 million viewers.

6. (6) "Survivor: All-Stars," CBS, 20.8 million viewers.

7. (X) "NBC Movie of the Week: 10.5," NBC, 20.7 million viewers.

8. (14) "Will & Grace," NBC, 20.5 million viewers.

9. (X) "Friends," (Thursday, 8:30 p.m.) NBC, 20.2 million viewers.

10. (13) "Law & Order," NBC, 17.2 million viewers.

11. (12) "Without a Trace," CBS, 16.7 million viewers.

12. (18) "Cold Case," CBS, 14.4 million viewers.

13. (9) "CSI: Miami," CBS, 13.8 million viewers.

14. (26) "Fear Factor," NBC, 13.3 million viewers.

15. (57) "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," ABC, 13.1 million viewers.

16. (11) "Everybody Loves Raymond," CBS, 13 million viewers.

17. (22) "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," NBC, 12.8 million viewers.

18. (36) "Frasier," NBC, 12.4 million viewers.

19. (17) "60 Minutes," CBS, 12.3 million viewers.

20. (15) "Two and a Half Men," CBS, 12.1 million viewers.

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