How invincible is CBS? Even in a week when two of its most touted sweeps-month specials failed to spark, the network still came out on top of the Nielsen ratings. Just 7.4 million watched Dr. Phil’s special tell-all interview with Pat O’Brien, and Sunday’s first installment of the miniseries Elvis (13.9 million) got clobbered by ABC’s Desperate Housewives (this week’s No. 2 show, with 26.1 million) and Grey’s Anatomy (No. 8, 18.9 million). Still, the week’s most-watched show, as usual, was CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (26.6 million), and five other CBS shows also made the top 10. Overall, CBS averaged 13.17 million for the week; it also leads for the first 11 days of May sweeps with an average of 13.22 million.
Fox finished second for the week with 10 million. The Paula Abdul scandal did nothing to dim the ratings of American Idol, which drew 25.4 million on Wednesday (No. 3) and 24.4 million on Tuesday (No. 4). Also strong for Fox were House (No. 12, 17.1 million) and Pamela Anderson’s new sitcom Stacked (No. 30, 11.2 million).
ABC, despite its triple-threat Sunday lineup (preceding Housewives and Anatomy, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition drew 15.4 million) and a new Lost (No. 11, 17.2 million), was able to muster only a third-place finish, with 9.9 million. NBC came in close behind with 9.7 million, even though it landed only two shows in the top 20 (Law & Order: SVU at No. 13, and ER at No. 14). In the WB-UPN battle, WB edged out UPN 3.32 million to 3.28 million.