Three TV Series Draw More Than 30 Million

In a positive sign for network television as its traditional season nears its end, three scripted series drew more than 30 million viewers in the past week, according to Nielsen Media Research (search).

The list was topped by "Everybody Loves Raymond," (search) the CBS comedy that drew its biggest audience ever for its finale last week. Just under 33 million people watched Ray Barone's brief brush with death.

The two-hour season finale of television's most popular scripted show, "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," (search) was watched by 30.7 million people. The episode was directed by series fan Quentin Tarantino.

ABC's "Desperate Housewives" (search) saw its season-ending cliffhanger reach 30.6 million people. It was the biggest audience for a season-ending episode by a freshman drama since "ER" a decade ago.

"ER" is still kicking, by the way, and was seen by 18.8 million people last week in star Noah Wyle's swan song.

Helped by the "Desperate Housewives" lead-in, ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" also had a series-best performance with 22.2 million people watching on Sunday.

CBS dominated the week, averaging 14.1 million viewers (9.1 rating, 15 share) and narrowly edging Fox in the key 18-to-49-year-old demographic. Fox had 10.2 million viewers overall (6.3, 11), ABC had 9.9 million (6.4, 11), NBC had 8.8 million (6.0, 10), the WB had 3.7 million, UPN had 3.5 million (both 2.4, 4) and Pax TV had 540,000 (0.4, 1).

NBC's "Nightly News" won the evening news ratings race, averaging 8.5 million viewers (6.2, 13). ABC's "World News Tonight" had 8 million viewers (5.7, 12) and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.5 million (4.6, 10).

A ratings point represents 1,096,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 109.6 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

For the week of May 16-22, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "Everybody Loves Raymond," CBS, 32.9 million; "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," CBS, 30.7 million; "Desperate Housewives," ABC, 30.6 million; "American Idol" (Wednesday), Fox, 27.9 million; "American Idol" (Tuesday), Fox, 25 million; "Raymond: Last Laughs," CBS, 24.5 million; "Two and a Half Men," CBS, 24.2 million; "CSI: Miami," CBS, 23 million; "Grey's Anatomy," ABC, 22.2 million; "Without a Trace," CBS, 21.4 million.