NEW YORK: Audience ratings for the US television industry's November sweeps reveal that, rather like Democrats and Republicans, it's too close to call between the CBS and ABC networks.

The viewing figures for the new TV season, provided by Nielsen Media Research, have bucked the recent trend of declaring CBS landslide winner by throwing up just 160,000 viewers between it and its nearest rival.

ABC, part of the Walt Disney empire, has notched a 6% rise in viewers over last year's numbers, despite the move of Monday Night Football to the ESPN cable network.

NBC also posted a 9% climb in total viewing figures and an impressive 18% growth among adults aged between 18 and 49. Fox ranks fourth in both categories, with a slide of 7% and 13% respectively.

The new network CW, the result of a merger between CBS-owned UPN and Time-Warner's The WB [WARC News: 26-Jan-06], turned up disappointing figures - more so as it combined the strongest programs from its constituent parts.

The first week sweeps results (with percent change versus the comparable year-ago period in parentheses) are:

Total Viewers
CBS: 12.86 million (-9%)
ABC: 12.70 (+6)
NBC: 10.64 (+9)
Fox: 6.42 (-7)
CW: 3.57

Adults 18-49
ABC 4.3 rating/11 share (-4)
NBC: 3.9/10 (+18)
CBS: 3.9/10 (-11)
Fox: 2.6/ 7 (-13)
CW: 1.5/ 4

Data sourced from Adweek (USA); additional content by WARC staff