Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman gave CBS an early holiday edge over NBC last week; CBS won by a mere 30,000 viewers.
Here's a look at the week's sugarplums and lumps of coal:
Al Gore. The former veep rocked last weekend, clocking "Saturday Night Live's" biggest audience since Britney Spears's appearance back in February. Preliminary stats suggest that Gore copped more viewers on NBC in late night on Saturday than had any prime-time show on any network. The final stats won't be in until Thursday but he'll have to beat "The District's" 9.95 million. The next night, Gore's "60 Minutes" interview on CBS logged 14.7 million viewers -- about 2 million more than the season finale of "The Sopranos" the previous Sunday. Gore was Sunday's biggest draw on any network.
"Extreme Makeover." Women pining for their "Bachelor" took solace Wednesday in an ABC special about a lucky few who were chosen to receive nose jobs, breast boosts, liposuction and capped teeth compliments of the network. The show snagged the time slot in all female demographics and, thanks to them, also won among 18-to-49-year-olds. Overall its audience was more than 13 million strong.
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Kids 2 to 11 chose CBS's 38-year-old "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," narrated by Burl Ives, as their program of choice last week. It beat every broadcast program in the kiddie demo, as well as every show on kids-leader Nick. "Rudolph" stomped on its Friday 8 p.m. competition with an average of 12.3 million viewers, which made it the night's second most watched show, behind only "Law & Order: Criminal Intent."
"How the Grinch Stole Christmas." Despite unfortunate scheduling opposite "Rudolph," this 36-year-old animated holiday special starring the voice of Boris Karloff managed to snag more than 6 million viewers Friday night on WB. That's WB's biggest audience in that time period since . . . the last time it aired "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," a year ago.
"Dinotopia." ABC has whacked its low-rated dino drama, based on last year's miniseries, and now has the distinction of having axed every one of its new fall dramas, including "MDs," "Push, Nevada" and, who can forget, "That Was Then."
"Firefly." After keeping this sci-fi cowboy drama on its schedule far longer than it deserved, Fox suits stopped taking their stupid pills; now that they've fully recovered, they've axed the series. On a fan Web site, creator Joss Whedon said he is "prouder of this show and the people I worked with on it than I can express in words, monkey noises or hieroglyphics," according to trade paper Variety.
"MDs." ABC finally threw in the towel on its Wednesday night doc drama. That's not surprising given that it averaged only about 6.5 million viewers off of a big "Bachelor" lead-in.
Billboard Awards. Yes, 9.4 million viewers is a good number for Fox on Monday these days, but it's the trophy show's smallest haul since at least 1991.
GQ Men of the Year Awards. Only 3.4 million people bothered watching this Saturday night trophy show in which, host NBC says, "GQ Magazine recognizes 18 men of distinction from the worlds of music, fashion/style, film, literature, sports, comedy, television, theater and the culinary arts." Zzzzzzzzz.
The week's 10 most watched programs, in order, were: CBS's "CSI"; NBC's "ER," "Friends" and "Law & Order"; CBS's "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Survivor: Thailand"; NBC's "Scrubs" and "Will & Grace"; ABC's "Monday Night Football"; and Fox's "The Simpsons."