NBC Leads May Sweeps

May sweeps is under way and primetime Monday proved to be a victorious night for CBS thanks to CSI: Miami. But while CBS leads the way so far in total viewers with 13.7 million, NBC remains on top in adults 18-49 through the first five nights of the four-week sweeps period.

NBC’s powerful Monday night episode of Third Watch, the network’s first season finale, featured the gruesome death of paramedic turned firefighter Alex Taylor (Amy Carlson) in a fiery explosion. The show ended on a who-shot-whom note with three cops–Yokas (Molly Price), Bosco (Jason Wiles) and Cruz (Tia Texada)–firing their weapons at one another after a tense standoff.

According to Nielsen, Third Watch‘s seg–round one of Fear Factor‘s semifinal competition featuring 12 of the show’s former winners–led from 8 to 9 while Watch was second in most categories and first in men 18-49.

The CBS comedy Everbody Loves Raymond, which was the night’s most-watched program overall with 17.92 million viewers, beat out the first half of Watch but the cop drama pulled ahead of CBS’ comedy Still Comedy from 9:30 to 10.

The CBS drama CSI: Miami, however, squashed NBC’s Crossing Jordan in the 10 to 11 time slot with 17.81 viewers overall. It was the Monday night’s top show in the 18-49 demographics.

Over at Fox, Monica Lewinsky’s new reality show Mr. Personality pulled in mediocre ratings in its second week. It placed third, but still managed to lead in the 18-34 demographic, building on the lackluster lead-in episode of Boston Public.

ABC fared poorly with the television premiere of Charlie’s Angels, which aired on the network from 9 to 11. The movie tanked in the ratings, placing third behind CSI: Miami and Crossing Jordan.

Lead by Girlfriends and Half and Half, UPN’s Monday night comedy block was up 80 percent year to year in adults 18-34, beating out the WB’s teen series Everwood.

So far, NBC leads the way in the May sweeps, followed by CBS, Fox, ABC, the WB and UPN. But networks will be pulling out all the stops for the duration of the four-week ratings period. The final Monday of the rating period, May 19, will include Robert and Amy’s wedding on CBS’ Everbody Loves Raymond, season finales of NBC’s Crossing Jordan and Fear Factor and a wrap-up of Fox’s Mr. Personality. ABC will feature a three-hour 50th-anniversary special, Variety reports.