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'Friends' Overtakes 'Idol' for Top Spot

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Joey, Rachel and Ross’s romantic possibilities actually outdrew — though only barely — Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard’s professional possibilities in last week’s May sweeps Nielsen ratings.

So, for now, “Friends” is No. 1 and “American Idol” is No. 2. With this Wednesday’s “Idol” finale, it’s a pretty safe bet that “Idol” will end up back in the top spot next week.

Meanwhile, ABC’s final installment of “The Bachelor” on Sunday proved a relative disappointment (15.1 million viewers), though it did outdraw part one of CBS’s miniseries on the young Hitler (13.6 million).

The WB network drew a relatively large crowd for its “Dawson’s Creek” series finale (7.3 million viewers), while FOX’s “Married … with Children” reunion fared poorly (fewer than 4 million) and ABC’s “Home Improvement” clip special with Tim Allen fared little better (4.8 million).

For the week of May 12-18, the Top 10 shows were as follows:

1. “Friends,” NBC, 25.5 million viewers
2. “American Idol,” Wednesday, FOX, 25.3 million
3. “CSI,” CBS, 23.9 million
4. “American Idol,” Tuesday, FOX, 23.4 million
5. “ER,” NBC, 21.6 million
6. “Will & Grace,” NBC, 20.3 million
7. “Everybody Loves Raymond,” CBS, 18.7 million
8. “Law & Order,” NBC, 18.3 million
9. “CSI: Miami,” CBS, 17.2 million
10. “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” NBC, 16.1 million