CBS Newscast Jumps To Second Place

LOS ANGELES (May 16, 2006) — Katie Couric has yet to arrive but the “CBS Evening News” rose to second place in the weekly ratings for the first time in five years.

It was Bob Schieffer, holding the anchor spot between Dan Rather’s departure and the arrival of NBC’s “Today” host Couric this fall, who shepherded the newscast to its breakthrough.

Meanwhile, CBS and Fox remained leaders of the prime-time pack in the May ratings sweeps, with one network powered by the finale of “Survivor” and the other by the unstoppable “American Idol.”

CBS marked its ninth consecutive weekly prime-time win, besting its rivals last week with help from the season’s concluding episodes of “Survivor: Panama, Exile Island” as well as the strength of its “CSI” crime dramas.

On “Survivor,” Aras Baskauskas of Santa Monica defeated Danielle DiLorenzo of Boston for the $1 million prize on Sunday’s finale.

For second-place Fox, “American Idol” showed no signs of flagging as it neared its May 24 finale. Last week’s Elvis Presley-themed show saw a 17 percent increase in viewers compared to the same week last year, while the audience is up 15 percent for the season-to-date.

NBC’s hottest performer remained the game show “Deal or No Deal,” which landed two episodes in the top 20, according to Nielsen Media Research figures released Tuesday.

ABC, despite top-ranked hits including “Grey’s Anatomy,” held its fourth-place status for the second week of sweeps.

The network will try to bolster an overall weak schedule next season by bringing at least 15 new series to the air, on Tuesday announcing a 2006-07 lineup that includes shows starring Taye Diggs, Calista Flockhart and Rachel Griffiths.

CBS ruled the week with an average 13.2 million viewers (8.4 rating, 14 share), while Fox drew 10.8 million viewers (6.5, 11) and hit three months as the leader among young adults. NBC had 10 million viewers (6.5, 11) and ABC 8.7 million (5.6, 9).

The WB had 3 million viewers (2.0, 3), UPN had 2.98 million (2.0, 3) and the i network (formerly Pax TV) had 380,000 (0.3, 0).

Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision averaged 3.3 million viewers (1.7, 3), Telemundo had 840,000 (0.5, 1) and TeleFutura 550,000 (0.3, 1).

Among evening newscasts, “CBS Evening News” edged past ABC and into second place for the first time since 2001. CBS’ newscast with Schieffer averaged 7.39 million viewers (5.1, 11) to 7.31 million for “ABC World News Tonight” (5.2, 11).

First-place “NBC Nightly News” had 8.4 million viewers (5.9, 12).

A ratings point represents 1,102,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation’s estimated 110.2 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

For the week of May 8-14, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: “American Idol” (Tuesday), Fox, 28.85 million; “American Idol” (Wednesday), Fox, 27.88 million; “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 27.04 million; “House,” Fox, 24.29 million; “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC, 22.59 million; “Desperate Housewives,” ABC, 21.03 million; “CSI: Miami,” CBS, 19.96 million; “Without a Trace,” CBS, 19.19 million; “Survivor: Panama, Exile Island” (Sunday), CBS, 17.06 million; “Survivor: Panama, Exile Island” (Thursday), CBS, 16.96 million.

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