CBS is now so mighty that even its bewhiskered reruns can beat the fare on the other networks. As usual, the network finished the week with the most viewers (an average of 13 million, according to Nielsen), and the top show (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, 24.7 million viewers). During a week that saw the end of the November sweeps period, CBS also proved the undisputed winner over the course of the all-important ratings-measuring month. But what makes CBS brass especially happy is that they were able to beat a new episode of NBC’s ER (No. 8 for the week, 17.6 million) with a repeat of Without a Trace (No. 7, 17.7 million), and that the 40th anniversary airing of the holiday chestnut Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer scored big as well, drawing 14.9 million viewers (at No. 15), its best showing since 2000.
ABC also had reasons to boast. It edged out NBC, 10.45 million to 10.37 million, to take second place for the week, even without the aid of Desperate Housewives. The original TV movie that pre-empted it, Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven, was the highest-rated movie on any network in nearly three years, finishing at No. 5 and drawing and audience of 18.6 million. ABC also had top 10 shows with NFL Monday Night Football (No. 9, 17.4 million) and Lost (No. 10, 17.1 million). Fox finished a distant fourth for the week, with an average of 6.6 million. UPN beat the WB by a hair, 3.58 million to 3.5 million.