It was as close to marriage as Sam Malone could get, and it was as close to “Home Improvement” as “Frasier” could get.
In one of the more successful sweeps maneuvers, the Feb. 21 “Frasier” imported Ted Danson for a one-episode revival of television’s most beloved womanizer, and snagged a dazzling 18.8 rating, 27 share. But even that performance – 30% above the show’s season average – wasn’t enough to top the unbeatable “Improvement,” which squeaked by with an 18.9/27 (6% below its average).
Despite the defeat, the episode sparked NBC to a superb night – its sixth straight night of either stellar ratings or smart sweeps stunts. The night of Feb. 21 started with a time-period-winning 13.8/22 from “Wings,” 14% above its season average.
At 8:30, NBC continued its success with sitcom substitution: Unable to find a suitable show for the period, the web has had great success with extra episodes of shows such as “Mad About You,” which won the slot on this night with a 14.6/22. At 9:30, a repeat of “Frasier” earned a 16.4/24 to finish within six-tenths of a ratings point of “Grace Under Fire,” which lost 10% of its usual viewers. At 10 p.m., “Dateline NBC” garnered a 13.0/22, 4.7 points behind the dominant “NYPD Blue” but 14% above its normal ratings.
This Tuesday showing followed hot on the heels of the robust numbers posted by “A Woman of Independent Means” on Feb. 19 and 20. Although the telepic skewed somewhat old, the two-parter gave NBC a rare Monday victory with its 16.6/25 performance, while the superb 17.8/27 showing on Sunday routed CBS’ “The Silence of the Lambs” (15.7/25) and ABC’s “Patriot Games” (13.9/22).
The Sunday “Means” was the sixth most-watched show of the week. The top three shows were NBC’s Feb. 16 editions of “ER” (22.9/37), a repeat of “Seinfeld” (22.5/33) and the regular “Seinfeld” (22.2/33).
The Peacock web sweeps substitutes on Friday and Saturday enjoyed a more modest success, but considering how the network has struggled there this season, any sign of life is note-worthy. On Feb. 18, “AT&T Skates of Gold II” earned an 8.4/15 from 8-10. Not spectacular, to be sure, but consider that “Empty Nest” is earning only a 6.8/12 at 8 p.m. and that “Mommies,” the latest 8:30 show, is rating only a 7.2/13. “Sweet Justice” has mustered only a 7.8/14 from 9-10 p.m.
The 9.1/16 grabbed by the “Soap Opera Awards” Feb. 17 is a similar story. The combination of “Dateline NBC” and “Homicide: Life on the Street” has been earning only an 8.8/15 from 9-11 p.m.