May 15, 2002 12:34 PM

With Wednesday marking the official end of the 2001-02 TV season, the winners are already clear: NBC and, particularly, “Friends,” according to the Nielsen ratings. The network won the May ratings “sweeps” and “Friends” drew 35 million viewers for last Thursday’s season finale, featuring Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) giving birth to the latest Friend, baby Emma. Those numbers for the show, now in its eight season, mean that, for the first time ever, it will be TV’s most popular series. (“Friends” will return for its ninth and final season next fall.) CBS concludes the season as No. 2, thanks largely to its drama “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” which was the second most popular show behind “Friends” and the first drama to average more viewers for a season than “ER” since NBC’s medical show premiered in 1994. ABC, however, lost nearly a quarter of its audience his season, while Fox also experienced declines. As for the Top 10 shows for the week of May 13-19, according to the Nielsen numbers, they are:

1. “Friends,” NBC, 22.3 million homes
2. “ER,” NBC, 18.5 million homes
3. “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 17.2 million homes
4. “Will & Grace,” NBC, 15.4 million homes
5. “Survivor: Marquesas Finale,” CBS, 14.1 million homes
6. “Law and Order,” NBC, 13.5 million homes
7. “Everybody Loves Raymond,” CBS, 13.4 million homes
8. “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 12.0 million homes
9. “Frasier,” NBC, 12.0 million homes
10. “The Cosby Show: A Look Back,” NBC, 11.9 million homes

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