By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated September 30, 2003 12:36 PM
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The new fall season, which swept across the nation’s TV screens last week, has brought good news for perpetually third-ranked ABC, according to the Nielsen ratings.

The network can thank its Tuesday comedy block, which was anchored by the first of the final three episodes of “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter,” which John Ritter was able to film before his death last month.

ABC also did well with its two-hour “Bachelor” premiere on Wednesday and with its new Friday comedy “Hope & Faith,” starring Faith Ford and Kelly Ripa. “Monday Night Football” also made the Top 10, a ratings improvement over last season.

But it was CBS that pulled off the upset of the week Friday when its new drama “Joan of Arcadia” outperformed Alicia Silverstone’s much-publicized new “Miss Match” on NBC.

CBS also had the most-watched show overall with the fourth-season premiere of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” while NBC’s much-hyped new “Coupling” failed to get impressive reviews or ratings, though the network still had some good news: its Emmy winner, “The West Wing,” rebounded in viewership for its fifth-season premiere.

For the week of Sept. 22-28, the Top 10 shows were as follows:

1. “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 26.9 million viewers
2. “Friends,” NBC, 24.5 million
3. “ER,” NBC, 23.2 million
4. “Law & Order,” NBC, 20.9 million
5. “Everybody Loves Raymond,” CBS, 20.6 million
6. “Will & Grace,” NBC, 20.3 million
7. “Survivor: Pearl Islands,” CBS, 19.9 million
8. “Two and a Half Men,” CBS, 18.4 million
9. “The West Wing,” NBC, 18.3 million
10. “CSI: Miami,” CBS, 17.4 million