Originally created 02/02/05

'Medium,' 'Numb3rs' are a ratings success

NEW YORK - In a TV season already notable for some surprise scripted hits, NBC's "Medium" and CBS' "Numb3rs" have the early look of winners, too.

"Medium," where Patricia Arquette plays a crime-solving psychic, joined Nielsen Media Research's top 10 last week. It beat "CSI: Miami" in the time slot, although the CBS show was a repeat. NBC has already announced that "Medium" will be back next year.

"Numb3rs" benefited from following the American Football Conference championship game for its premiere, but also reached a solid 15.5 million people for its first Friday showing, a night where viewership tends to be light. Further success may doom time slot competitor "Medical Investigation" on NBC, which had only 6.8 million viewers last week.

The new shows aren't at the level of "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" for ABC, but those are promising starts - particularly for NBC, which can use a hit.

The network competition has become even more heated than usual now that Fox, out of the race during the season's first half, has climbed back in thanks to "American Idol." Fox won the week among the viewers aged 18-to-49 that advertisers seek.

Among all viewers, CBS led with a 12.7 million average in prime time last week (8.4 rating, 13 share), NBC averaged 10.7 million viewers (7.1, 11), Fox had 10.4 million (6.2, 10), ABC 9.4 million (6.1, 10), the WB 3.6 million (2.4, 4), UPN 2.9 million (2.0, 3) and Pax TV 670,000 (0.5, 1).

NBC's "Nightly News" won the evening news ratings race, averaging 10.8 million viewers (7.5, 14). ABC's "World News Tonight" had 10.1 million viewers (7.2, 13) and the "CBS Evening News" 7.8 million (5.6, 10).

A ratings point represents 1,096,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 109.6 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 Jan. 24-30. Top 20 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) "American Idol" (Tuesday), Fox, 28.1 million viewers.

2. (3) "American Idol" (Wednesday), Fox, 26.6 million viewers.

3. (2) "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," CBS, 21.8 million viewers.

4. (9) "ER," NBC, 19.8 million viewers.

5. (31) "CBS Sunday Movie: The Magic of Ordinary Days," CBS, 18.7 million viewers.

6. (19) "CSI: New York," CBS, 17.6 million viewers.

7. (15) "Cold Case," CBS, 16.7 million viewers.

8. (22) "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," ABC, 16.2 million viewers.

9. (14) "Medium," NBC, 15.8 million viewers.

10. (X) "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," special, ABC, 15.5 million viewers.

11. (17) "Numb3rs," CBS, 15.5 million viewers.

12. (18) "The Apprentice 3," NBC, 15.4 million viewers.

13. (5) "CSI: Miami," CBS, 15 million viewers.

14. (8) "Everybody Loves Raymond," CBS, 14.8 million viewers.

15. (6) "Without a Trace," CBS, 14.5 million viewers.

16. (15) "60 Minutes," CBS, 14.4 million viewers.

17. (29) "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," NBC, 14.3 million viewers.

18. (20) "Law & Order: SVU," NBC, 14.2 million viewers.

19. (11) "Two and a Half Men," CBS, 13.6 million viewers.

20. (26) "Simple Life 3," Fox, 13.3 million viewers.

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