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TV Ratings: 'Friends' Back in Place

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With the Olympics over, the weekly ratings race returned to its usual pattern for the week ending March 2, which included the last three days of the February sweeps. Bolstered by healthy numbers for “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Survivor: Marquesas” and “Everybody Loves Raymond,” CBS topped the competition in viewers (14.1 million), while another strong set of demo numbers for “Friends” and “ER” on Thursday and a promising debut of the new Julia Louis-Dreyfus series, “Watching Ellie,” on Tuesday solidified NBC’s standing among advertiser-friendly adults 18-49, according to Nielsen Media Research. NBC was second for the week in viewers (13.4 million), followed by ABC (8.9 million), FOX (8.5 million), UPN (4 million) and the WB Network (3.9 million). On a sour note: CBS’s marathon telecast of the 44th annual Grammy Awards (which sucked in 19 million viewers on Wednesday) delivered the lowest total viewers for the prize program since 1997. The Top 10 shows from Feb. 25 to March 2, according to Nielsen:

1. “Friends,” NBC, 18.3 million homes
2. “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 18.1 million homes
3. “ER,” NBC, 17.2 million homes
4. (tie) “Everybody Loves Raymond,” CBS, 14.8 million homes
4. (tie) “Leap of Faith,” NBC, 14.7 million homes
6. “Survivor: Marquesas,” CBS, 13.7 million homes
7. “Law & Order,” NBC, 13.0 million homes
8. “Will & Grace,” NBC, 12.8 million homes
9. “44th Annual Grammy Awards,” CBS, 12.5 million homes
10. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 12.2 million homes