ABC and CBS Share Sweeps Lead

NEW YORK Based on the first week of national data from Nielsen Media Research, ABC and CBS are leading the November 2006 sweeps period, with CBS first in total viewers and ABC No. 1 among adults 18-49.

Unlike prior recent sweeps where CBS was the immediate guaranteed winner in total viewers, only 160,000 viewers separate ABC and CBS—so anything can happen. And for ABC, which is up 6 percent in total viewers year-to-year, this is a notable positive given that the audience was expected to diminish without Monday Night Football.

CBS and NBC are tied for No. 2 among adults 18-49, 9 percent below ABC, while CBS is down in both total viewers and adults 18-49 by minor percentages.

Ignited by Sunday Night Football, NBC is enjoying growth of 9 percent in total viewers—and an impressive 18 percent growth among adults 18-49. Fox ranks fourth in both categories, with erosion of 7 and 13 percent, respectively.

The newly formed CW is a distant fifth at levels identical to the WB one year earlier, and down by 50,000 viewers from UPN (but equal among adults 18-49). Considering the CW has combined the strongest shows from the two former networks, the results are, no doubt, disappointing.

These are the first week sweeps results (with percent change versus the comparable year-ago period in parentheses for ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox):

-Total Viewers:
CBS: 12.86 million (- 9%)
ABC: 12.70 (+ 6)
NBC: 10.64 (+ 9)
Fox: 6.42 (- 7)
CW: 3.57

-Adults 18-49:
ABC: 4.3 rating/11 share (- 4)
NBC: 3.9/10 (+18)
CBS: 3.9/10 (-11)
Fox: 2.6/ 7 (-13)
CW: 1.5/ 4