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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 May, 2003, 11:28 GMT 12:28 UK
US crime drama tops Friends
Richard Hatch won the original US Survivor
Survivor is in the top ten shows
A detective show based on forensic investigations, has become the US's favourite TV programme.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigations, broadcast by America's CBS network, averaged 26.2 million viewers over the latest US TV season, which ran from September last year to May 2003.

Fox network's Joe Millionaire came in second with 22.9 million viewers, while NBC's Friends ranked third with 21.8 million, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Five of the top 10 shows were reality TV programmes, including two Survivor series and American Idol.

CSI: Crime Scene, Friends and ER were the most popular scripted shows for the second season in a row.

CBS was also named the most popular network, averaging 12.5 million viewers in prime-time this season, followed by NBC with 11.7 million, ABC with 10 million and Fox with 9.8 million.

ABC and Fox both increased their audience share.

Ruben Studdard won American Idol 2
American Idol 2 has proved popular with viewers
But in the lucrative 18- to 49-year-old demographic which produces the most advertising revenue, NBC came out top for the seventh time in eight years.

The results led to words being exchanged between top bosses at NBC and CBS.

"Let me assure you that NBC's prime-time schedule is far more profitable than anyone's," said NBC entertainment executive Jeff Zucker.

But Leslie Moonves, chief executive at CBS said that CBS' Thursday night line-up with Survivor and CSI is the most profitable night on TV.

CBS also won the May "sweeps". The sweeps are conducted three times a year - in February, May and November - to collect viewing data in order to set advertising rates.

The sweeps period is a hard-fought campaign when networks roll out their best programmes in prime-time slots.

Despite coming fourth in the season results, Fox also had something to celebrate. The network won its second straight sweeps month in the coveted 18- to 49-year-old demographic.

"This truly has been the most memorable and successful season in Fox history," said entertainment president, Gail Berman.




SEE ALSO:
Friends back for 10th series
22 Dec 02  |  Entertainment
Joe Millionaire aids Fox ratings victory
27 Feb 03  |  Entertainment
US Pop Idol proves ratings hit
14 Jun 02  |  Entertainment
'Bitter reality' for TV writers
07 Mar 03  |  Entertainment


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