At this point, it would be news if CBS did not win the weekly Nielsen ratings race (it did, with an average of 13 million viewers), or if CSI: Crime Scene Investigation did not draw the week’s biggest audience (it did, at 29.8 million). Still, ABC continues to make strides, most notably in its Sunday showdown against the finale of CBS’ Survivor: Vanuatu. Survivor accounted for three of the top 13 shows this week, with Chris Daugherty’s jackpot win coming in at No. 4 (19.7 million). But it ran opposite ABC’s Desperate Housewives, the week’s second most-watched show, with 21.6 million viewers. Altogether, ABC landed four shows in the top 10, including Lost (No. 6), NFL Monday Night Football (No. 8), and Barbara Walters’ special naming the 10 Most Fascinating People of 2004 (No. 9). That show drew 16.3 million viewers; see, Paris Hilton, Oprah, and Ken Jennings really are still fascinating.
Overall, ABC averaged 10.3 million viewers for the week. NBC, with a largely rerun-driven schedule, finished third with 9.6 million. Fox averaged 7 million for fourth place. UPN edged out the WB, 3.3 million to 3.1 million.