Once again, judging from Nielsen's top ten list, it looked like a two-horse ratings race last week as Fox landed the top two spots with its two editions of American Idol and CBS took the remaining eight. Viewership overall was down about 7 percent due in part to numerous reruns following early season finales of shows like the bachelor . (The conventional wisdom is that ratings always slide during the first week of daylight savings time.) Several shows picked up steam, most especially the CBS reality series Undercover Boss , which attracted 14.5 million viewers and NBC's Jerry Seinfeld-produced The Marriage Ref, which drew 7.5 million. Although hardly an impressive number -- it was No. 25 on the Nielsen list -- it was nevertheless NBC's second highest-rated show of the week, behind its old workhorse, Law & Order SVU , which tied for No. 13 with 9.7 million viewers. Oddly, although CBS coverage of the college basketball tournament dominated TV viewing on three consecutive nights last week, TV viewing in general was down on two of those nights, Friday and Saturday. The Thursday telecast ended up in a tie for 13th place. Somewhat surprisingly, each of the network nightly newscasts was down from previous weeks despite the lead-up to the healthcare vote. NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams remained on top with 8.1 million viewers. ABC's World News with Diane Sawyer placed second with 7.2 million viewers, while the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric trailed with 5.2 million. Among the late-night shows, Jay Leno and David Letterman ran a neck-and-neck race throughout the week, with Leno holding a slight edge. (On Monday of this week, both Leno's Tonight show and Letterman's Late Show were overtaken by ABC's Nightline -- by a lot. Nightline averaged 4.9 million, beating Leno's 4.2 million and Letterman's 4.1 million.) For the week, CBS led in primetime with an average 6.7 rating and a 12 share (down from a 7.1/12 during the same week a year ago). Fox placed second with a 5.5/9, down from last year's 6.0/10. NBC was a distant third with a 3.9/7, up from a 3.7/6, while ABC trailed with a 3.5/6, down from a 5.9/10.
The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research 1. American Ido l (Tuesday), Fox, 13/21; 2. American Idol (Wednesday), Fox, 11.8/20; 3. NCIS, CBS, 11.1/18; 4. NCIS Los Angeles, CBS, 9.4/15; 5. The Good Wife, CBS, 8.6/15; 5. Undercover Boss, CBS, 8.6/14; 7. 60 Minutes, CBS, 8.3/13; 8. Two and a Half Men, CBS, 7.8/12; 9. The Big Bang Theory, CBS, 7.2/11; 10. Amazing Race , CBS, 6.9/11.