'CSI: Miami' & Original 'CSI' Break Ratings Records

By Christian
May 21, 2005 - 10:26 PM

Both CSI: Miami and the original CSI: Crime Scene Investigation shattered ratings records this week, but strong competition from a two-hour Alias episode led to an underwhelming finish for CSI: New York.

The biggest CSI event of the week -- and of the year -- of course was the original CSI's two-hour season finale, "Grave Danger," directed by Quentin Tarantino. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the two-hour finale averaged 30.1 million viewers, which wasn't enough to break the record of more than 31 million set by "Ch-Ch-Changes" in November. However, this was apparently primarily due to the fact that a lot of people forgot they had to tune in an hour earlier to catch the start of the season finale -- during the last half hour of the show, it was watched by an unprecedented 35.1 million people.

Variety noted that the episode's ratings represented its best May sweeps performance ever, and that they helped push CBS to its must successful Thursday night in over two years. The accomplishment was made even more impressive by the fact that CSI had to compete with the Apprentice season finale, which ended up with 13.7 million viewers.

Three days earlier, CSI: Miami set a record of its own, helped not by a stunt director, but rather by airing on the same night that CBS showed the final Everybody Loves Raymond. That episode was watched by 32.2 million people, of which 25 million hung on for Two And A Half Men at 9:30pm, until finally 23.1 million people watched Miami's "Whacked." According to Variety, this was the show's largest audience ever, while in the important demographic category of adults aged between 18 and 49, Miami scored its best ratings since November. The show was undoubtedly helped by the fact that NBC had pre-empted Medium for the three-hour telemovie Hercules, which was watched by a paltry 7.2 million people.

On Wednesday, the CSI: New York finale "What You See Is What You See" was unable to match the success of the other two CSIs. The show went up against the last hour of an Alias two-hour event and the Law & Order season finale, a situation that led to none of the three shows performing spectacularly well. CSI: NY was still the best-performing of the three shows, as it won its timeslot in the adults 18-49 category, and with 12.30 million viewers nearly matched Law & Order's 12.41 million in the overall audience race. Alias attracted an average of 8.86 million viewers for its two hours.

For more on last week's ratings, head over to Variety's reports on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

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