Fox wins weeklong ratings battle

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ABC and Fox are in a fight to the finish line for the season-long win in the key adults 18-49 demographic.

Fox won the latest weekly battle, yet remains tied with ABC season-to-date (4.0 rating/11 share) with just three weeks left. CBS followed with a 3.8/10 for the season, while NBC averaged a 3.3/9, according to data released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

In the week ended May 7, Fox took three of the top five programs among adults 18-49. The top two were the Wednesday American Idol results show (29.3 million, 11.7/28) and the Tuesday hourlong Idol (28.6 million, 11.4/31), which also were the most-viewed shows of the week.

House also came up big in its regular Tuesday time slot, averaging 22.7 million viewers and an 8.7/22. The one-hour special Wednesday edition, which capped a two-episode arc, also did well to tie for seventh place in the demo with 17.2 million viewers and a 6.4/18.

The Fox reality show Unanimous averaged 13.9 million viewers and a 6.0/14 in the demo, ranking 10th for the week.

Fox averaged 10.7 million viewers--in second place to CBS--but a 4.4/13 in adults 18-49 for the week. CBS averaged 12.3 million viewers and a 3.6/10 in the demo, while ABC averaged 8.7 million and a 3.2/9, and NBC had 8.9 million and a 3.0/8.

On CBS, the big show was CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (26 million, 8.3/22), with CSI: Miami (19.3 million, 6.2/15) rounding out its top 10 in the demo. Without a Trace also performed well, bringing in 19.1 million viewers and a 5.8/16 in the demo, just behind its fellow Thursday night show Survivor: Panama (17 million, 5.9/18).

ABC's Grey's Anatomy was the top scripted show in the demo for the week (22 million, 9.7/24). That was just ahead of its 9 p.m. lead-in, Desperate Housewives (21.3 million, 8.6/20). With its first original episode in two weeks, Lost also made the top 10 in the demo (15.6 million, 6.4/15).

Yet all was not well for Housewives, which was down 18 percent in viewers and 25 percent in the demo from the same week a year ago (26.1 million, 11.4/27), according to Nielsen.

Lost, which has been in a tough time period against the Idol results show, is off 9 percent in viewers but up slightly in the demo compared with a year ago.

NBC's highest entry among adults 18-49 was Law & Order: SVU (15.3 million, 5.3/14), which was 13th. ER was 15th (11.8 million, 5.1/14), and it was a difficult week for the gameshow Deal or No Deal. Its Monday edition did OK but not as well as in previous weeks, with 14.4 million viewers and a 4.0/11 in the demo.

Friday night saw Deal (11.9 million, 3.4/12) edging out Ghost Whisperer (11.1 million, 3.2/12) at 8 p.m. CBS won the next two hours with Close to Home (11.2 million, 2.8/9) and Numbers (12 million, 3.2/10).

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