Holiday Ratings Rundown: The Parade, Dog Show and 'October Road'

TVWeek's James Hibberd: Rated

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Wednesday's pre-holiday massacre: Viewing levels were down, yet networks aired original series anyway. The results were not pretty, with most shows hitting new lows. CBS continued its Wednesday winning streak and widened its margin versus ABC (a 3.1 average adults 18 to 49 preliminary rating to ABC's 2.3). The finale for "Phenomenon" came in third place for the 8 p.m. hour. NBC also had a rare Wednesday second-place finish.

Thanksgiving specials: NBC's presentation of "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" and "The National Dog Show" were both down slightly from last year (the parade doing an 11.7 metered-market household rating, the dog show earning a 4.9). Finally figured out what's odd about NBC's "Dog Show": It's one of the few competitions aired without any critical commentary. Viewers have no sense of why any dog won or lost, only that they're all so damn adorable. NBC should try adding a commentator next year who's willing to shrug off the holiday spirit and mock a Pyrenean sheepdog's lopsided gait. After all, it's not like you can offend the dogs.

CBS won Thursday night, with viewers suckered into a clip show of "Survivor" (3.6) followed by originals of "CSI" (4.1) and "Without a Trace" (3.1). NBC and Fox ran theatrical movies. ABC was second with "Ugly Betty" (2.2) and "Grey's Anatomy" (5.0). ABC then aired the second-season premiere of "October Road" at 10 p.m., which on Thanksgiving is sort of like being pushed by your tribe into a volcano. The show fell 61% from its debut last March.

Friday and Saturday: With the exception of the lower viewing levels, Friday shook out like most weeks, with CBS winning the night with the top three shows. The CW, airing "Smackdown" (1.6), managed to tie ABC for third place. On Saturday, ABC broke CBS' winning streak with college football.

Then the universe rights itself: Viewing levels returned to relative normalcy Sunday night. NBC won with "Sunday Night Football" where the Philadelphia Eagles faced the New England Patriots (7.5). ABC was second with a 100th-episode, two-hour special edition of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (3.4 and 5.0), followed by "Desperate Housewives" (6.9) and "Brothers & Sisters" (4.8). CBS came in third, with "60 Minutes" boosted by the NFL overrun (5.4), "The Amazing Race" (3.6), "Cold Case" (3.3) and "Shark" (3.1). Fox was fourth with its comedy lineup, mixing original episodes of "The Simpsons" (4.1) and "Family Guy" (4.7) with repeats. The CW had repeats.