For the third consecutive sweeps period this season, it looks like CBS will claim the title for most viewers, a feat the network hasn't achieved in 15 years. Monday night's expanded season finales of CSI: Miami and Everyone Loves Raymond, which was the most-watched program of the evening, helped put CBS above the competition.
Speaking to Variety reporters on a conference call, CBS topper Leslie Moonves sang his network's praises, saying that the May sweeps victory helped the net finish the season with its most convincing season-long win since 1993.
"It's game, set, match for CBS in sweeps periods this season," Moonves said Tuesday.
"We're in very good shape. I like the results of the year and May," Moonves added, insisting that the net's older-audience profile doesn't keep it from doing good business with advertisers. "We're doing something right, because we're making more profit than the other guys."
Yet, the battle for the key 18-49 demographic is still being waged. NBC has been leading throughout the May sweeps, with Fox following close behind. But Fox scored Monday, coming in first in that demographic with the hit reality shows American Idol and the finale of Mr. Personality. Idol's final duke-out between Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken Wednesday will most likely shoot the network even further up the ladder.
NBC's unauthorized biopic Martha Inc.: The Story of Martha Stewart starring Cybill Shepherd as the autocratic homemaker, did very well Monday despite tough competition, ranking as the season's No. 1 movie on any network in the 18-49 group, Variety reports. ABC placed fourth, but rang up its best Monday average with entertainment programming since January, with a three-hour spec celebrating the net's 50th anniversary.
According to Variety, going into the final week of sweeps, NBC is leading in adults 18-49 with a 4.5/13, followed by Fox (4.2/12), CBS (3.7/11), ABC (3.3/9), the WB (1.9/5) and UPN (1.5/4). In total viewers, CBS leads with 13 million, well ahead of NBC's 11.5 million.