''Miami'' heat, clipped ''Wing'': TV's hits and flops. This season the reality of TV is that Americans don't worship false idols -- and they still want their crime-scene-investigating friends

By Dan Snierson
May 30, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
CSSI MIAMI: Robert Voets


WHAT THEY SAID COMING INTO THE SEASON We will become America’s most-watched network — and dye the gray on our chin.

WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED They made good on becoming the most-watched network — but didn’t get any younger.

PEAK PERFORMERS ”CSI: Miami” joined the case as the highest-rated new drama (No. 14 out of 159), while the original ”CSI” tracked down even more viewers this season — 26.3 million — to become TV’s top series. Although it’s not quite holding ”CSI”’s massive audience, ”Without a Trace” is leaving its mark at No. 16. ”It’s this season’s hero,” says CBS VP Kelly Kahl. ”It’s the first show in eight years to compete against ‘ER.’ It’ll only continue to gain momentum over the summer.” Viewers continued to follow ”Survivor” to ”Thailand” (No. 5) and ”The Amazon” (No. 7). And while 1.6 million fewer people loved ”Raymond” than last season, it was solid at No. 9.

BLEAK PERFORMERS ”My Big Fat Greek Wedding” opened small in movie theaters and built each week, but its TV adaptation worked in reverse, fading fast to No. 32. ”There aren’t that many times where the show is sampled and people come to it,” says Kahl. ”And to have it not pan out creatively was probably the disappointment of the year.” Former top 20 staple ”Becker” was bonked by its move to Sunday, finishing at No. 47. The CIA went ”see ya” as ”The Agency” was shut down at No. 79. Ditto for ”Touched by an Angel” (No. 91), which ended its run at a new low. But not as low as courtroom drama ”Queens Supreme,” found guilty of being No. 99.