CBS takes the season lead in ratings race

Wednesday, December 12th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ CBS won the prime-time ratings crown in a week clogged with reruns and has moved into first for the television season as a whole despite NBC's fast start.

The week's top show was an original version of ``CSI: Crime Scene Investigation'' last Thursday, drawing just under 24 million viewers.

The venerable newsmagazine ''60 Minutes'' had its best ratings for the season in a show that contained Ed Bradley's interview with Russell Yates, whose wife admitted drowning five of their children.

CBS, which generally has an older audience, also scored an unusual victory among viewers aged 18-to-49, Nielsen Media Research said.

CBS' lead over NBC for the season is by less than 100,000 viewers, on average. CBS and NBC were virtually tied this time last year, too, but ABC was first at this point a year ago.

Among the week's most disappointing ratings news is the performance of Fox's critically praised comedy, ``Tick,'' which was the lowest-rated show among the top four networks.

For the week, CBS had a prime-time average of 12.1 million viewers (8.0 rating, 13 share). ABC jumped into second place with 11.2 million viewers (7.2, 12), NBC was third with 10.5 million (7.2, 12), Fox had 8.3 million viewers (5.1, 8), UPN had 4 million (2.4, 4), the WB had 3.4 million (2.3, 4) and Pax TV had 1.3 million (0.9, 1).

In the evening news ratings race, NBC's ``Nightly News'' won with an average audience of 10.9 million (7.7 rating, 15 share). ABC's ``World News Tonight'' had 10.6 million (7.6, 15) and the ``CBS Evening News'' had 9.6 million (6.8, 13).

A ratings point represents 1,055,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 105.5 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

For the week of Dec. 3-9, the top 10 shows, their networks and ratings were ``CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,'' CBS, 14.9; ``Friends,'' NBC, 14.0; ''60 Minutes,'' CBS, 11.9; ``Everybody Loves Raymond,'' CBS, 11.6; ``Law and Order,'' NBC, 11.2; ``Survivor,'' CBS, 11.2; NFL Monday Night Football: Green Bay at Jacksonville, ABC, 11.0; ``The West Wing,'' NBC, 10.6; ``Will & Grace,'' NBC, 10.3; ''48 Hours (Monday), CBS, 10.2.