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Ratings: Obama's ad, World Series clincher top the week

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After more than a month of debates and the skewering antics of Saturday Night Live, political programming continued to grip broadcast television right up to election day. Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama‘s paid spot in primetime — which aired on CBS, Fox, and NBC simultaneously last Wednesday night — nabbed a hefty 25.5 million viewers to win the week of Oct. 27 to Nov. 2. That topped another special broadcast, the second part of the World Series‘ game 5, which saw the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-3. (The first part of the game, which began on Monday but was stopped because of rain, drew only 13.2 million viewers.)

Nevertheless, the Philadelphia-Tampa Bay matchup ultimately ranks as the lowest-rated World Series in TV history. It drew an average of 13.6 million viewers over five games; by comparision, the 2007 showdown between the Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies attracted an average of 17.1 million viewers over four games. The highest-rated Series of the past 10 years — 2004’s four-game battle between the Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals — boasted an audience that was nearly double the size of this year’s (25.4 million). Guess that overly passionate Boston fan base is good for something?

The rest of the Top 20 for the week is nearly the same as it is every week during the regular season, with CBS dominating in general and ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, Desperate Housewives, and Grey’s Anatomy also attracting a lot of attention. Although there was one small surprise: Fox’s The Simpsons, which recently launched its 20th season, had its second-highest-rated episode since February 2004 and was the highest-rated show of the night in the advertiser-important 18-49 demo. Credit a big football lead-in and the fact that that particular installment was the series’ annual “Treehouse of Horror” episode, which ripped on Transformers and Mad Men and opened with Homer Simpson getting killed by a voting machine when he tried to cast a ballot for for Barack Obama. (See, viewers are loving the politics right now!) The whole Top 20 is after the jump.

addCredit(“Kyodo/AP”)

1. Obama Paid Ad | CBS, Fox, NBC | 25.5 million

2. World Series Game 5 Wednesday | Fox | 19.1 million

3. CSI | CBS | 19.1 million

4. Dancing with the Stars | ABC | 18.9 million

5. Dancing with the Stars | ABC | 17.4 million

6. NCIS | CBS | 17.3 million

7. Sunday Night Football | NBC | 16.7 million

8. The Mentalist | CBS | 16.1 million

9. Desperate Housewives | ABC | 15.9 million

10. Grey’s Anatomy | ABC | 15.3 million

11. 60 Minutes | CBS | 14.3 million

12. Criminal Minds | CBS | 14.0 million

13. House | Fox | 13.5 million

14. World Series: Game 5 Monday | Fox | 13.2 million

15. Survivor: Gabon | CBS | 13.0 million

16. The Simpsons | Fox | 12.4 million

17. Saturday Night Football | ABC | 12.2 million

18. Without a Trace | CBS | 12.2 million

19. Two and a Half Men (Repeat) | CBS | 11.9 million

20. Cold Case | CBS | 11.7 million

Also of note, out of the Top 20, was the premiere of NBC’s 30 Rock, which garnered 8.7 million viewers. That’s an increase of 1.4 million over last season’s premiere. Also on the Peacock network, Lipstick Jungle debuted miserably in its new Friday night-at-10 p.m. time slot, with just 3.2 million viewers. The sexy New York City-set series has been in a ratings tailspin lately, and the latest episode is down 3.1 million viewers — nearly 50 percent — from its premiere episode this season.

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1. Obama Paid Ad | CBS, Fox, NBC | 25.5 million
2. World Series Game 5 Wednesday | Fox | 19.1 million
3. CSI | CBS | 19.1 million
4. Dancing with the Stars | ABC | 18.9 million
5. Dancing with the Stars | ABC | 17.4 million
6. NCIS | CBS | 17.3 million
7. Sunday Night Football | NBC | 16.7 million
8. The Mentalist | CBS | 16.1 million
9. Desperate Housewives | ABC | 15.9 million
10. Grey’s Anatomy | ABC | 15.3 million
11. 60 Minutes | CBS | 14.3 million
12. Criminal Minds | CBS | 14.0 million
13. House | Fox | 13.5 million
14. World Series: Game 5 Monday | Fox | 13.2 million
15. Survivor: Gabon | CBS | 13.0 million
16. The Simpsons | Fox | 12.4 million
17. Saturday Night Football | ABC | 12.2 million
18. Without a Trace | CBS | 12.2 million
19. Two and a Half Men (Repeat) | CBS | 11.9 million
20. Cold Case | CBS | 11.7 million

Also of note, out of the Top 20, was the premiere of NBC’s 30 Rock, which garnered 8.7 million viewers. That’s an increase of 1.4 million over last season’s premiere. Also on the Peacock network, Lipstick Jungle debuted miserably in its new Friday night-at-10 p.m. time slot, with just 3.2 million viewers. The sexy New York City-set series has been in a ratings tailspin lately, and the latest episode is down 3.1 million viewers — nearly 50 percent — from its premiere episode this season.

More TV News:
Viewers vote for SNL
Dancing With the Stars recap
Gossip Girl recap
John McCain on SNL
Barack Obama on The Daily Show
Sarah Palin on SNL

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