November sweepstakes: CBS creams oppn; ABC neck-to-neck with NBC

MUMBAI: The Viacom owned CBS network is going from strength to strength. It has come out on top for November in the 18-49 demographic for the first time since 1980. The network also finished first in viewers for the seventh consecutive sweep dating back to November 2002 and placed first in adults 25-54.

CBS's November win in viewers, by more than 3.5 million viewers, is the largest margin of victory by any network since 1987. CBS' victory was fuelled primarily by the Network's regular programming, including series best performances from Two And a Half Men, which had its most watched and highest rated episode in adults 18-49. This demographic is considered key as far as attracting advertsers is concerned. The 100th episode of CSI, attracted its largest audience ever. In India the show airs on AXN.

For November CBS had nine of the top 15 programmes in viewers. CSI was number one. In the 18-49 demographic CBS claimed seven of the top 15 series.

What is interesting is that among all viewers, CBS is actually down compared to last November. Fortunately NBC is struggling to repeat the success of Friends. The most surprising part of this tale, really, is ABC which literally came out of nowhere thanks to Desperate Housewives, Lost, and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Thanks to the huge gains made by Desparate Housewives, ABC is up compared to last year. Fox meanwhile, cannot wait for American Idol to return in January. Its ratings are rather flat and the Rupert Murdoch owned broadcaster is now wallowing in Never-Never Land as a lowly number 4. Fox managed to attract an average of a little over seven million viewers for November in the 2+ category. CBS attracted double that to finish on top.

NBC has narrowly beaten ABC for second spot 10.74 million viewers vesus 10.71 million. In the 25-54 and 18-49 slots ABC and NBC fnished a joint second.

At a conference call, Viacom co-COO Les Moonves said that the ratings vindicated CBS's strategy of trying to appeal to the widest possible audience in hopes the younger viewers follow, instead of simply pandering to youth. He expects the victory in the 18-49 age group to pay off in May, when advertisers commit to spending money for the following season.

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