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    "Raymond" Loved by 33 Mil

    No gimmicks, no super-sized story line--just a lot of viewers.

    Monday's final episode of Everybody Loves Raymond was watched by 32.9 million, CBS said.

    A series retrospective, Everybody Loves Raymond: The Last Laugh, which aired in the 8-9 p.m. hour, was viewed by another 24.5 million mourners.

    The numbers helped push CBS' Two and a Half Men (24.6 million) and CSI: Miami (23.2 million) to all-time highs, and helped keep down the season closer of The Bachelor on ABC (9.3 million).

    In the annals of sitcom finales, Raymond's falls more towards Newhart's 1990 farewell (29.5 million viewers) than the record-holder, 1983's M.A.S.H. (105.5 million), or last year's Friends event (52.5 million).

    Unlike Newhart's surprise ending, or M.A.S.H. and Friends' tear-soaked sendoffs, Raymond went out as it went in nine years ago--with good, old-fashioned Barone family bickering. The half-hour episode (same as always) did veer into Very Special Episode territory with Ray (Ray Romano) suffering a scare during adenoid surgery, but veered right back into acrimony.

    Everybody Loves Raymond premiered on Sept. 13, 1996. It ends its run as TV's most watched sitcom, a title Two and a Half Men appears most likely to inherit next fall.

    Monday's ratings, including the Raymond finale, will be reflected in next week's rankings.

    Meanwhile, for the TV week ended Sunday:

    Although 10-year-old girls may not have yet recovered, Anthony Federov's dramatic departure from Wednesday's American Idol was good for the health of the franchise (first place, 26.6 million). Tuesday's competition round wasn't so bad, either (fourth place, 24.7 million).
    Airing on Sunday, CBS' two-hour Survivor: Palau finale (fifth place, 20.8 million) outwitted ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (15th place, 16.6 million) in the 8 p.m. hour, but got outplayed by Desperate Housewives (third place, 25.3 million) in the 9 p.m. hour.
    A Palau castaway reunion (17th place, 15.5 million), airing in Sunday's 10 p.m. hour, had its torch extinguished by ABC's Grey's Anatomy (11th place, 18.3 million).
    One more Survivor thing: The penultimate Palau episode, airing in its usual Thursday night home, did its usual big thing--eighth place, 19.7 million.
    One more Raymond thing: Last week's penultimate episode did its usual big thing--seventh place, 19.8 million.
    The series finale(s) of UPN's Star Trek: Enterprise averaged 3.8 million (89th place) for the back-to-back episodes. That's up about 25 percent from its season-to-date average but down about 80 percent from its September 2001 premiere.
    Harry Hamlin's bad dad Aaron was outed as Lily Kane's killer in the season closer of UPN's Veronica Mars (98th place, 3 million).
    NBC's ER (13th place, 17.2 million) may not look hot or sexy, but it's still a top 5 hit among the coveted 18-49 set.
    Not a great week for Elvis. Wednesday's concluding half of his CBS miniseries, Elvis (32nd place, 10.5 million), tanked opposite Idol. A case could be made, however, that it took ABC's Lost (14th place, 17.1 million) down with it.
    A family-produced Elvis special, Elvis: By the Presleys, did marginally better on Friday night--27th place, 11.8 million.
    One reason why NBC's Fear Factor didn't make the fall schedule: 43rd place, 8.4 million.
    One reason why Fear Factor didn't get outright canceled: Hard-up NBC is renewing shows--see: Joey (42nd place, 8.6 million)--that aren't faring much better.
    One reason why NBC's The Contender did get outright canceled: 75th place, 5.3 million.
    Fox must be hoping George Lucas' name does more for Revenge of the Sith, than it did for The O.C. (64th place, 6.1 million).

    With six shows in the top 10, CBS dominated the sweeps week, claiming wins in total viewers (14.8 million) and the 18-49 demo.

    Fox (9.3 million) was second in viewers and the demo; ABC (9.11 million), third. NBC (9.1 million) had fourth all to its lonesome.

    UPN blew past the WB--3.8 million to 3.3 million.

    Here's a rundown of the 10 most watched prime-time shows for the week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen Media Research:

    1. American Idol (Wednesday), Fox, 26.6 million viewers
    2. CSI, CBS, 26.5 million viewers
    3. Desperate Housewives, ABC, 25.3 million viewers
    4. American Idol (Tuesday), Fox, 24.7 million viewers
    5. Survivor: Palau (Sunday), CBS, 20.8 million viewers
    6. CSI: Miami, CBS, 20 million viewers
    7. Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS, 19.8 million viewers
    8. Survivor: Palau (Thursday), CBS, 19.7 million viewers
    9. Without a Trace, CBS, 18.9 million viewers
    10. House, Fox, 18.8 million viewers

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