- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 17, 2005

CBS slams competition

CBS won yet another ratings battle last week, aided by the series finale of the stalwart reality show “Survivor.”

CBS had six shows in the top 10 for the week, while NBC couldn’t manage one, Associated Press reports.

NBC’s most-viewed program was “ER,” which ranked 13th. The medical drama was one of only three NBC programs in the top 20.

CBS averaged 14.8 million viewers (9.3 household rating, 16 share). Fox was a distant second with 9.3 million viewers (5.8 rating, 10 share). ABC had 9.11 million (6.0 rating, 10 share), and NBC was close behind with 9.08 million (6.2 rating, 10 share). UPN had 3.8 million viewers (2.4 rating, 4 share), the WB had 3.3 million viewers (2.2 rating, 4 share), and Pax TV had 520,000 (0.4 rating, 1 share).

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.

For the week of May 9-15, the top 5 shows and their networks and viewerships: “American Idol” (Wednesday), Fox, 26.6 million; “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 26.5 million; “Desperate Housewives,” ABC, 25.3 million; “American Idol” (Tuesday), Fox, 24.7 million; “Survivor: Palau” (finale), CBS, 20.8 million.

24’s‘ new day

Fox’s exhilarating drama “24” doesn’t wrap its current season until Monday, but the network already is letting the show’s faithful breathe a bit easier.

Kiefer Sutherland’s show will return for at least two more seasons, Reuters News Agency reports, assuming Mr. Sutherland’s Jack Bauer survives the current terrorist nightmare.

Fox will firm up the rest of its upcoming fall season during tomorrow’s upfront presentation, a gathering in which networks preview shows for advertisers and other industry executives.

Network’s fall lineup

The Tiffany Network won’t be resting on its laurels this fall.

CBS is upping the number of new shows for its upcoming season as compared to 2004/05, according to Reuters. The network, which will officially announce its plans today, is adding at least three comedies and five dramas.

The dramas picked up for 2005-06 range from prototypical crime shows (“American Crime,” “Quantico”) to the supernatural (“Threshold,” “Ghost Whisperer”) to the military-themed “The Unit.”

“Seinfeld” alum Julia Louis-Dreyfus takes another stab at her own show with “Old Christine,” but Reuters reports that the comedy is involved in last-minute negotiations between CBS and producer Warner Bros. TV for a midseason order.

Meanwhile, the midseason drama “Numbers” drew enough interest to warrant a second season. And look for return engagements from “Still Standing” and “Yes, Dear,” as well.

The outlook was much grimmer for sophomore drama and one-time hit “Joan of Arcadia” and veteran “Judging Amy,” with at least one said to be facing cancellation. CBS is slated to present its fall schedule Wednesday at Carnegie Hall in New York.

In the imitation-is-flattery department, CBS is offering “Threshold,” a show about a team of scientists and military personnel communicating with an alien life form. CBS also appears eager to catch the buzz ABC’s “Lost” generated this year with its otherworldly themes.

CBS’ answer to NBC’s successful midseason drama “Medium” is “Ghost Whisperer,” a Jennifer Love Hewitt vehicle based on the work of celebrity medium James Van Praagh about a newlywed communicating with dead people who have not quite crossed over to the other side.

That ‘70s’ goodbye

Tonight’s season finale of Fox’s “That ‘70s Show” marks the last time both Ashton Kutcher and Topher Grace will groove to the disco era’s beat.

Both are opting to spend their energies on motion picture careers after seven seasons with the sitcom.

Mr. Kutcher’s most recent films include “Guess Who” and “A Lot Like Love,” while Mr. Grace’s latest was “In Good Company,” which has just hit video stores.

The actors may appear next season in cameo roles.

“That ‘70s Show” airs at 8 tonight.

Comeback kid network

ABC hopes to build on its impressive 2004-05 season with a series of new shows this fall, including “Commander-in-Chief,” a drama built around a female president; and a remake of the cult classic “Kolchak: The Night Stalker,” Associated Press reports.

Expect three new dramas and two comedies come autumn, including the presidential drama starring Geena Davis.

Among the shows not coming back for ABC include “My Wife and Kids,” “8 Simple Rules,” “Blind Justice” and “Extreme Makeover.” “Less Than Perfect” will return in midseason.

A few ratings-challenged shows made the cut, including “Hope & Faith,” “George Lopez” and “Jake in Progress.”

ABC said it had ordered five other new series that will premiere during the next season.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and

wire reports.

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