Cannon Pictures may have gotten the boost it needs to secure financing to continue “Walker, Texas Ranger,” as the Chuck Norris series blew away the competition with its two-hour CBS premiere Wednesday (see review, page 7).

Airing from 9-11 p.m., “Walker” prevailed in the Nielsens with a 16.5 rating, 27 share, sweeping its last three half-hours and, not surprisingly, jumping 5 shares nationally compared to its results in major overnight markets.

The show’s demographic breakdown was evenly distributed, including a 25 share among adults 18-49, 30-plus tallies with viewers 50-plus and a 21 share among children.

“Walker” will have its second — and second-to-last airing of the spring at 10 p.m. Saturday, having completed only three installments because Cannon Pictures was unable to secure financing to cover deficits from production (Daily Variety, April 12).

Cannon, whose officials couldn’t be reached for comment, was hoping a strong premiere would drum up new financial support for the show. Based on the performance, CBS could pony up some cash in exchange for distribution rights to keep the series going, since the show displayed some of the same ratings characteristics (a strong appeal in rural areas and among viewers 50-plus) as its Saturday lead-off series “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.”

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