Viewers return to 'Mayberry'

The fictional Mayberry depicted in "The Andy Griffith Show" may have been a sleepy town, but it was one of TV's hottest attractions last week as a retrospective of the classic homespun comedy propelled CBS to another ratings win with viewers, according to Nielsen data released Tuesday.

"The Andy Griffith Show Reunion: Back to Mayberry," featuring a reunion of Griffith, Don Knotts and Ron Howard, was the third-highest-rated show of the week with more than

21.6 million viewers, topped only by CBS' unstoppable "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and "Survivor: Pearl Islands."

The success of the Griffith special continues the wave of popularity for reunions of vintage TV shows kicked off in 2002 when CBS aired a reunion of the Carol Burnett variety show.

ABC also scored big last week with Diane Sawyer's interview with rescued American soldier Jessica Lynch on a special Tuesday edition of "Primetime," watched by nearly 15.7 million viewers.

But the star power of Britney Spears, OutKast and Rod Stewart did little to spark ABC's broadcast of the "American Music Awards," which scored its lowest ratings in at least 10 years. The special was trounced by two repeat episodes of "CSI," which had replaced the first part of "The Reagans." The miniseries was pulled after a storm of protests and charges of bias toward the former president and his wife, Nancy.

After spending several weeks among the top-rated shows following the death of its star, John Ritter, "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter" has dropped in viewership, landing at No. 38.

-- Greg Braxton

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