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Ratings Week: Santa Liked CBS Best

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CBS continued its ratings roll for an eighth straight week during a holiday season that mostly gifted viewers with reruns, according to the Nielsen numbers. While NBC started the season as the ratings champ, CBS remains alone among the top three networks in seeing its viewership increase over last year. Yet second-place NBC, which attracts the most viewers in the highly sought-after 18-49 age group, may yet forge ahead in the ratings once the Winter Olympics kick in next month. For the week of Dec. 24-30, CBS averaged 9.7 million viewers; NBC had 8.3 million; ABC, 8 million; Fox, 6.1 million; UPN, 3.5 million; the WB, 2.7 million; and Pax TV, 1.3 million. In the evening news ratings race, “NBC Nightly News” with Tom Brokaw topped ABC and CBS’s evening news programs with an average audience of 11.7 million, compared to the 10.4 million who tuned into ABC’s Peter Jennings and the 8.9 million who watched CBS’s Dan Rather. The Top 10 shows Dec. 24-30 are as follows:

1. “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 12.0, 12.7 million homes
2. “Survivor: Africa,” CBS, 10.8, 11.4 million homes
3. “Friends,” NBC, 10.2, 10.7 million homes
4. “Law & Order,” NBC, 9.2, 9.7 million homes
5. “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” NBC, 9.0, 9.5 million homes
6. “NFL Monday Night Football: Baltimore at Tampa Bay,” ABC, 8.6, 9.1 million homes
7. “60 Minutes II,” CBS, 7.8, 8.2 million homes
8. “The West Wing,” NBC, 7.6, 8.0 million homes
9. “Will & Grace,” NBC, 7.4, 7.8 million homes
10. (tie) “CBS Sunday Movie: Eraser,” CBS, 7.3, 7.7 million homes
10. (tie) “Primetime Thursday,” ABC, 7.3, 7.7 million homes