No Mystery Here: CBS Wins Again Behind 'CSI' Juggernaut

By Lisa de Moraes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Seven hours of "CSI"-- nearly one-third of CBS's prime-time lineup -- left that network at the top of the ratings heap last week. Ironically, NBC logged seven hours of "Law & Order," yet finished fourth in the ratings. And a report about alleged "American Idol" hanky-panky helped both the Fox reality series and the ABC newsmag that broke the story--a real win-win.

Here's a look at the week's eyes and peacocks:

WINNERS

Wednesday "American Idol." For the first time this season, the results edition outstripped the Tuesday performance edition, owing no doubt to the hype surrounding that night's "Primetime Live" report on an alleged affair between former contestant Corey Clark and judge Paula Abdul. More than 25 million tuned in -- the largest Wednesday "Idol" crowd in eight weeks.

"Family Guy." In its second week back on the Fox lineup, the animated Sunday show was the No. 1 program among teens.

"Law & Order: SVU." Among NBC's seven hours of "Law & Order" was a two-hour "SVU" on Tuesday that logged NBC's biggest crowd in that two hours this season.

"Primetime Live." ABC News's one-hour chat with former "Idol" contestant Clark produced the biggest 18-to-49-year-old audience for any newsmagazine since that "Dateline" special in which Katie Couric interviewed the cast of "Friends" right before that sitcom's final episode. And a trend is born. . . .

"Grey's Anatomy." ABC's midseason hot-docs-in-training drama is now the top-rated 10 p.m. show on any network on any night of the week among the 18- to 49-year-olds advertisers favor.

LOSERS

Dr. Phil. Has Dr. Phil lost his touch? Only about 7 million people bothered to watch him milk "Insider" host Pat O'Brien's problems with "alcohol" on "Dr. Phil: Behind the Headlines." In September, when Dr. P was still hot, about 13 million caught his prime-time special "Family First," on which he told parents their kid exhibited most of the traits of a serial killer. As recently as February, when the good doctor got stern with the wife-shoving husband on "Amazing Race" during the prime-time special "Romance Rescue," nearly 11 million were still watching.

Tina Brown. Brown is much too busy with her new book to continue hosting "Topic A" and announced this week she would end the show this month, saving CNBC the trouble of pulling the plug on the program, which this year is averaging just 74,000 viewers.

"Law & Order." Opposite "Fallen Idol," NBC's long-running drama sank to its smallest audience in 12 years for an original, regularly scheduled episode.

"Elvis." It appears we've had enough of Elvis Presley for the time being. Despite an enormous promo campaign that included a glossy spread in People magazine and Elvis holograms on buildings in New York and Los Angeles, Part 1 of CBS's two-part bio-mini clocked just under 14 million viewers. Part 1 of that other CBS two-parter, the November sweeps' "Category 6: Day of Destruction," logged more than 19 million viewers.

The week's 10 most watched programs, in order: CBS's "CSI"; ABC's "Desperate Housewives"; Fox's Wednesday and Tuesday "American Idol"; CBS's "CSI: Miami," "Survivor: Palau" and "Everybody Loves Raymond"; ABC's "Grey's Anatomy"; and CBS's 'Two and a Half Men" and "Without a Trace."

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