[09/30/03 - 12:00 AM]
Nbc, CBS Hot in Opening Week Numbers
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- CBS and NBC started the 2003-04 season the same way they ended the 2002-03 season: fighting over who's the real winner. The final numbers are in for the first official week of the new season and CBS is crowing about its victory in total viewers (14.0 million) and households (9.3/15) while NBC is boasting about its top scores in adults 18-49 (5.1/14) and adults 25-54 (5.8/14). The real battle lines were drawn however in a dueling press releases by each network why they took on each other's lineup. Here's a breakdown of the entire he said/she said banter:

CBS' Monday comedies vs. NBC's "Fear Factor"

CBS says: EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND (13.4/20, 20.63m) was first in households, viewers, adults 25-54 (8.4/18) and adults 18-49 (6.5/16) -- and was Monday's top rated program in households and adults 25-54 and the night's most watched program. TWO AND A HALF MEN (12.1/18, 18.44m) was first in women 25-54 (8.8/18) and a solid second behind football in households, viewers and adults 25-54 (7.4/16). The premiere of TWO AND A HALF MEN posted the best premiere retention of any sitcom coming out of "Everybody Loves Raymond" and was the week's most watched new program and comedy.

NBC says: From 8-10 p.m. ET, the fourth-season premiere of "Fear Factor" (6.1/16 in 18-49, 13.8 million viewers overall) led its two-hour slot against powerful premiere-week competition in all key adult demographics, women 18-34 and 18-49 and men 18-34. It's the highest-rated premiere ever for "Fear Factor" in 18-49, up 20 percent over last season's 90-minute debut episode.

CBS' "C.S.I. Miami" vs. NBC's "Las Vegas"

CBS says: CSI: MIAMI (11.9/19, 17.40m) was a strong second to football in households, viewers, adults 25-54 (7.2/17) and adults 18-49 (5.9/15). CSI: MIAMI topped the highly promoted premiere of "Las Vegas" in viewers (17.40m vs. 12.28m, +5.12m), adults 18-49 (5.9/15 vs. 5.0/13, +18%) and adults 25-54 (7.2/17 vs. 6.0/14, +20%).

NBC says: On Sept. 22, NBC won premiere Monday outright in 18-49 for the first time in 15 years, as the debut of "Las Vegas" (5.0 rating, 13 share among adults 18-49, 12.3 million viewers overall) pulled within 0.9 of a rating point of CBS' rival drama "CSI: Miami" in 18-49. It's the closest finish for an NBC drama versus a first-run "CSI: Miami" to date. "Las Vegas" defeated "CSI: Miami" among adults, men and women 18-34 and won the hour overall among women 18-34. "Las Vegas'" 5.0 rating is a 22 percent jump over NBC's 18-49 average with regular programming in the slot last season.

CBS' "Navy N.C.I.S." vs. NBC's "Whoopi"/"Happy Family"

CBS says: NAVY NCIS (8.9/14, 13.04m) got off to a strong start, placing second in viewers and households, and surged in its second half-hour, winning the Tuesday 8:30 PM time period in both households and viewers while gaining +1.07 million viewers and showing increases of +10% in adults 25-54 (3.9/11 to 4.3/11). NAVY NCIS torpedoed NBC's "Whoopi"/"Happy Family" in viewers (13.04m vs. 9.00m) and in adults 25-54 (4.1/11 vs. 3.5/09, +17%). At 8:30 PM, NAVY NCIS also sunk the premiere of "I'm With Her" in viewers (13.57m to 13.19m) and households (9.3/15 to 8.5/13).

NBC says: NBC was a strong #2 in 18-49 and #1 among overall total viewers Tuesday night, as "Whoopi" (2.9/9 in 18-49, 8.8 million viewers) improved by 7 percent on NBC's 2.7 average rating in the Tuesday 8 p.m. ET slot last season. "Whoopi" delivered solid second-place results despite exceptional competition from ABC's "8 Simple Rules," which rose 75 percent above its average 18-49 rating of last season. From 8:30-9 p.m. ET, "Happy Family" (3.2/9 in 18-49, 9.2 million viewers overall) built by an impressive 10 percent on its 18-49 lead-in from "Whoopi" to finish within a tenth of a rating point of second place for the half-hour in 18-49.

CBS' "The Guardian" vs. NBC's "Frasier"

CBS says: THE GUARDIAN (8.2/13, 11.75m) placed second in viewers and households with its biggest audience since April 29, 2003 and highest adult 25-54 rating (3.8/09) since Feb. 25, 2003.

NBC says: From 9-10 p.m. ET, the hourlong 11th-season premiere of "Frasier" (5.4/14 in 18-49, 14.5 million viewers overall) was #1 among adults, men and women 18-49; adults, men and women 25-54; households and total viewers with the show's top-rated telecast in 18-49 since Feb. 4. It was a 38 percent jump over the 3.9/10 with which "Frasier" closed last season.

CBS' "Judging Amy" vs. NBC's "Law & Order: S.V.U."

CBS says: No comments in its press release.

NBC says: At 10 p.m. ET, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (5.2/14 in 18-49, 13.2 million viewers overall) was #1 in virtually all key categories with NBC's highest 18-49 rating in the hour with regular programming in the 10 months since Nov. 12, 2002 ("Dateline NBC"). While "SVU" improved by 27 percent on NBC's slot result on premiere Tuesday a year earlier, the competition was down substantially - ABC's "NYPD Blue" by 28 percent and CBS' "Judging Amy" by 35 percent.

CBS' "60 Minutes II" vs. NBC's "Ed"

CBS says: No comments in its press release.

NBC says: NBC won Wednesday in 18-49 and numerous other categories, as the fourth-season premiere of "Ed" (4.1/12 in 18-49, 10.7 million viewers overall) jumped to that show's highest 18-49 rating since Nov. 20, 2002. "Ed" finished a powerful #2 for the hour in 18-49 and most other key categories, with a 17 percent jump over the show's 18-49 rating for premiere week last year. From its first half-hour to its second, "Ed's" 18-49 rating increased by a hefty 31 percent, the biggest increase for any network in the hour.

CBS' "Big Brother 4" vs. NBC's "The West Wing"

CBS says: No comments in its press release.

NBC says: At 9 p.m. ET, the fifth-season premiere of "The West Wing" (6.2/16 in 18-49, 18.3 million viewers overall) scored the Emmy-winning drama's best rating since Sept. 25, 2002 and attracted its largest overall audience since March 6, 2002. "West Wing" won its time period outright in 18-49 for the first time since Oct. 2, 2002. Its 6.2 rating in 18-49 is down just 3 percent versus the 9-10 p.m. portion of last year's two-hour premiere (6.4) and is up 38 percent versus "West Wing's" average for last season (4.5) and up 32 percent versus "West Wing" season finale of last May (4.7).

CBS' "The Brotherhood of Poland, N.H." vs. NBC's "Law & Order"

CBS says: THE BROTHERHOOD OF POLAND, N.H. (5.6/09, 8.05m on Wednesday from (10:00-11:00 PM) premiered on an atypical night without its regular lead-ins (THE KING OF QUEENS and BECKER).

NBC says: From 10-11 p.m. ET, the 14th-season premiere of "Law & Order" (7.6/20 in 18-49, 20.9 million viewers overall) matched its highest season-opening 18-49 rating since 1997 and hit its biggest viewer total for a season premiere ever. "Law & Order" grew by 9 percent versus last year's season-premiere 7.0 rating. In 18-49, it's the highest-rated "Law & Order" since Jan. 16, 2002 and in total viewers, it's the most-watched telecast of "Law & Order" since March 6, 2002.

CBS' "Survivor: Pearl Islands" vs. NBC's "Friends"

CBS says: SURVIVOR: PEARL ISLANDS (12.0/19, 19.86m) was a very strong second in households, viewers, adults 25-54 (9.1/22), adults 18-49 (7.5/21) and adults 18-34 (5.7/17). SURVIVOR posted growth at 8:30 PM, increasing +12% in households (12.7/20 from 11.3/18), +19% in adults 18-34 (6.2/18 from 5.2/17), +17% in both adults 18-49 (8.1/22 from 6.9/20) and adults 25-54 (9.8/23 from 8.4/22) while adding +2.87m viewers (21.30m from 18.43m).

NBC says: NBC's powerful Thursday lineup launched its season with a commanding 36 percent margin of victory in 18-49. From 8-8:45 p.m. ET, the 10th-season premiere of "Friends" (11.8/33 in 18-49, 24.5 million viewers overall) dominated in all key categories. From 8-8:30, the "Friends" 18-49 winning margin over CBS' "Survivor" was a towering 65 percent.

CBS' "C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation" vs. NBC's "Will & Grace"/"Coupling"

CBS says: CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION (17.2/26, 26.91m) was the week's highest rated and most watched program, and won its time period in adults 25-54 (12.1/27) and adults 18-49 (9.7/24).

NBC says: From 8:45-9:26 p.m. ET, the sixth-season premiere of "Will & Grace" (10.3/26 in 18-49, 20.3 million viewers overall) scored a convincing time-period victory in 18-49 and several other key categories over CBS' "Survivor" and "CSI." It's "Will & Grace's" second-highest-rated telecast in 18-49 since the wedding episode of Nov. 21, 2002 and most-watched show in total viewers since that same date. From 9:26-9:59 p.m. ET, the series premiere of "Coupling" (7.8/19 in 18-49, 15.3 million viewers overall) grabbed #2 finishes in the time period in most key categories and won the hour over CBS' "CSI" season premiere among adults 18-34 and women 18-34.

CBS' "Without a Trace" vs. NBC's "ER"

CBS says: WITHOUT A TRACE (11.5/18, 16.67m) was a solid second in households, viewers and key demographics -- 6.9/16 in adults 25-54 and 5.7/15 in adults 18-49. WITHOUT A TRACE cut "ER's" advantage from 10.5 million viewers a year ago (16.21m vs. 26.72m) to 6.5 million last night (16.68m vs. 23.22m).

NBC says: From 9:59-11 p.m. ET, the 10th-season premiere of "ER" (10.7/28 in 18-49 and 23.2 million viewers overall) topped CBS' second-place "Without a Trace" in 18-49 by a huge 88 percent margin and doubled "Trace" among adults, men and women 18-34 and women 18-49.

CBS' "Joan of Arcadia" vs. NBC's "Miss Match"

CBS says: JOAN OF ARCADIA (8.7/16, 13.47m) won its Friday (8:00-9:00 PM) time period in households, viewers, adults 18-49 (3.7/14), adults 25-54 (5.1/16), women 25-54 (6.0/18) and men 25-54 (4.2/14). JOAN easily topped NBC's "Miss Match" in households by +61% (from 5.4/10), +32% in adults 18-49 (from 2.8/10), +50% in adults 25-54 (from 3.4/11) and by +5.81m viewers (from 7.66m). This is CBS's most watched fall premiere in the time period since 1994 and best performance in the time period for a fall premiere in households and adults 25-54 since 2000 and in adults 18-49 since 1993. Compared to the same night last year, JOAN OF ARCADIA was up +81% in households, +95% in adults 18-49, +113% in adults 25-54, +114% in women 25-54 and +121% in men 25-54.

NBC says: From 8-9 p.m. ET, "Miss Match" (2.8/10 in 18-49, 7.7 million viewers overall) premiered with competitive numbers and won the hour among women 18-34. "Miss Match" built its adult 18-49 rating by 11 percent from its first half-hour to its second.

CBS' "J.A.G." vs. NBC's "Dateline NBC"

CBS says: JAG (8.7/15, 13.76m) was first in its new (Friday, 9:00-10:00 PM) time period in households, viewers and men 25-54 (4.3/13) and second in adults 25-54 (4.6/13), women 25-54 (4.9/13) and adults 18-49 (3.3/10). JAG posted the time period's best households, viewers and adults 25-54 delivery since Jan. 26, 2001 and adults 18-49 delivery since Oct. 4, 2002 with a regularly scheduled program.

NBC says: At 9 p.m. ET, the season premiere of "Dateline NBC" (2.8/9 in 18-49, 8.6 million viewers overall) built its 18-49 rating by 29 percent from its first half-hour to its second, easily the biggest build for any network in the time period. "Dateline" finished #2 in such categories as women 18-49 and women 18-34.

CBS' "The Handler" vs. NBC's "Boomtown"

CBS says: THE HANDLER (8.5/16, 12.60m), won its Friday (10:00-11:00 PM) time period in households, viewers, adults 25-54 (4.9/14), and was second in adults 18-49 (3.2/10, just -0.2 behind ABC). THE HANDLER posted the time period's best premiere performance in households, viewers and key demographics since 2000 ("Nash Bridges"). Compared to last year time period premiere Friday, THE HANDLER was up +52% in households, +40% in adults 25-54 and +23% in adults 18-49.

NBC says: From 10-11 p.m., the second-season premiere of "Boomtown" (2.9/9 in 18-49, 7.8 million viewers overall) tied for #2 among adults 18-34 and women 18-34 and finished #2 outright among men 18-34. The critically acclaimed drama also pulled NBC within 2 shares of the time-period lead among adults 18-49.

CBS' Saturday lineup vs. NBC's "Jerry Maguire"

CBS says: On Saturday, CBS (6.2/11, 9.38m) was first in households, viewers and adults 25-54 (2.7/08, tie FOX). College football coverage run until 8:22 PM, delivering a 6.1/12 with 9.28m viewers in prime time.

NBC says: An 8-11 p.m. ET telecast of "Jerry Maguire" (2.4/8 in 18-49, 5.2 million viewers overall) generated a 20 percent increase over NBC's year-ago 18-49 average for premiere Saturday, the best year-to-year comparison for any network on the night. "Jerry Maguire" increased its 18-49 rating and overall viewer total with every successive half-hour through prime time, for an increase of 76 percent from its first half-hour to its sixth in 18-49 (from a 1.7 rating to a 3.0).

CBS' "60 Minutes" vs. NBC's "Dateline NBC"

CBS says: 60 MINUTES (9.4/17, 14.03m) was first in households and viewers. The CBS News magazine posted its most watched broadcast since 3/9/03 and highest rated since 3/16/03.

NBC says: NBC won the opening Sunday of the season in 18-49 as the 7 p.m. ET season premiere of "Dateline NBC" (3.0/9 in 18-49, 8.5 million viewers overall) ranked as the hour's #1 non-sports choice among adults 18-49 and adults 25-54 and was #1 outright among women 18-49 and 25-54. "Dateline," featuring a profile of Whitney Houston, reported the show's highest Sunday 18-49 rating since Nov. 10, 2002. "Dateline" defeated CBS' "60 Minutes" by a 15 percent margin in 18-49 and by a 6 percent margin in 25-54. From its first half-hour to its second, "Dateline's" 18-49 rating increased by a gigantic 40 percent (to a 3.5 rating from a 2.5).

CBS' "Cold Case" vs. NBC's "American Dreams"

CBS says: COLD CASE (10.5/16, 15.85m) won its time period in households, viewers, adults 25-54 (4.8/11) and was second in adults 18-49 (3.4/09, tie FOX). This is CBS's most watched fall premiere in the time period since 1999, and highest rated in both households and adults 25-54. Compared to the time period last year, COLD CASE was up +33% in households, +26% in adults 25-54 and +10% in adults 18-49. COLD CASE is the week's most watched drama.

NBC says: From 8-9 p.m. ET, the second-season premiere of "American Dreams" (3.8/10 in 18-49, 9.6 million viewers overall) won the time period in 18-49 convincingly over series premieres for "Cold Cases" on CBS and "10-8" on ABC. This is the first 18-49 time-period win for "American Dreams" since Oct. 13, 2002. "Dreams'" 3.8 rating in 18-49 matches the acclaimed drama's highest since March 2.

CBS' "Twelve Mile Road" vs. NBC's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent"/"The Lyon's Den"

CBS says: The CBS SUNDAY MOVIE, "Twelve Mile Road" (10.4/16, 15.80m), won its time period in households and viewers. The CBS SUNDAY MOVIE posted its best premiere in households, adults 25-54 and adults 18-49 since 2000 and most watched premiere since 1998. Compared to last year's premiere Sunday, the MOVIE was up +76% in households, +30% in adults 25-54 and +12% in adults 18-49.

NBC says: At 9 p.m. ET, the third-season premiere of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (5.2/12 in 18-49, 15.8 million viewers overall) dominated its time period, winning by a commanding 27 percent margin in 18-49 over ABC's second-place "Alias." It's a significant reversal from premiere week 2002, when "Alias" edged "Criminal Intent." From 10-11 p.m. ET, the series premiere of "The Lyon's Den" (4.2/11 in18-49, 12.3 million viewers overall) won the hour among adults 18-49, adults 25-54, women 18-49 and women 25-54. It's the first time an NBC drama has defeated a first-run episode of ABC's "The Practice" in the time period in 18-49 (excluding "Exiled: A Law & Order Movie" on Nov. 8, 1998).


Adults 18-49: NBC 5.1/14, 6.5 million; ABC 4.1/12, 5.3 million; CBS 3.9/11, 5.1 million; Fox 2.6/7, 3.4 million; WB 1.5/4, 2.0 million; UPN 1.5 rating, 1.9 million (Each rating point equals 1.29 million viewers)

Adults 25-54: NBC 5.8/14, 7.0 million; CBS 5.1/13, 6.2 million; ABC 4.7/12, 5.7 million; Fox 2.5/6, 3.1 million; UPN 1.5 rating, 1.8 million; WB 1.5/4, 1.8 million (Each rating point equals 1.21 million viewers)

Total Viewers: CBS 5.1/14, 14.0 million; NBC 4.6/12, 12.6 million; ABC 3.8/10, 10.6 million; Fox 2.2/6, 6.0 million; WB 1.5/4, 4.0 million; UPN 1.2 rating, 3.4 million (Each rating point equals 2.76 million viewers)

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· 10-8 (ABC)
· ED (NBC)
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