'CSI,' 'Idol' Topple Sweeps Specials

updated 05/07/2003 at 12:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/07/2003 5:11PM

Despite the numerous specials dished up for the May sweeps period, it was the usual suspects who ruled the ratings last week -- starting with CBS's "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and FOX's "American Idol."

The two programs have basically dominated the weekly head counts for the past few months, and this time was no different, with the shows drawing 22.7 million viewers and 20.4 million, respectively.

In fact, all but two of last week's Top 20 shows were episodes of regular series. The two exceptions were reruns of "Friends" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," according to Nielsen Media Research.

CBS's Sunday night movie about Lucille Ball, which the critics considered dull, still proved a modest success with nearly 13 million viewers. Tim Allen's retrospective on "Home Improvement" on ABC drew 11.3 million viewers, more than any of that ailing network's current comedies.

FOX did well with "Bernie Mac," which received its best ratings ever, thanks to an "American Idol" lead-in, though the network clearly has a dud on its hands with Monica Lewinsky and her "Mr. Personality." Only 7.9 million viewers watched.

For the week of April 28-May 4, the Top 10 shows were as follows:

1. "CSI," CBS, 22.7 million viewers
2. "American Idol," Tuesday, FOX, 20.4 million
3. "American Idol," Wednesday, FOX, 20.2 million
4. "ER," NBC, 19.5 million
5. "Friends," NBC, 19 million
6. "Law & Order," NBC, 18.1 million
7. "Everybody Loves Raymond," CBS, 17.9 million
8. "Survivor: Amazon," CBS, 17.7 million
9. "CSI: Miami," CBS, 17.2 million
10. "Friends," NBC, 17.2 million

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