‘Gump’ trumps NBC ‘Invasion’

ABC’s broadcast premiere of “Forrest Gump” topped part one of NBC’s “Invasion” miniseries, propelling the Alphabet web to first place in overnight household ratings Sunday evening, according to Nielsen.

“60 Minutes” and “Touched by an Angel” helped CBS hold on to second place, even though NBC’s first installment of “Robin Cook’s Invasion” edged out the Eye web’s special, two-hour “Walker, Texas Ranger: Sons of Thunder.”

Fox’s “The X-Files” also seemed to take a hit from “Invasion,” and may have also been hurt by a 45-minute hockey overrun through much of the country.

ABC averaged a 13.0/20 for the night. Then came CBS with a 12.7/20, NBC with 10.9/17 and Fox with 8.8/14. The WB posted a 3.4/5. National ratings will be released today.

ABC’s three-hour premiere of “Forrest Gump” averaged a 15.1/23 in the 37 overnight markets, making it ABC’s best Sunday performance since last Nov. 3, when “The Lion King” premiered to identical numbers. ABC won each half-hour between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., when CBS and NBC aired their movies.

NBC’s first big sweeps event, “Invasion,” averaged a 12.5/19 from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., the highest rating for a Robin Cook feature since “Virus” in May 1995. “Invasion” bettered last Sunday’s 12.2/18 premiere of ABC’s “The Shining,” but the performance wasn’t strong enough to move NBC out of third place for the night.

“Invasion” also didn’t come close to the first installment of NBC’s “The Beast” last May, which averaged a 19.2/29 in its first night in overnight ratings. However, last year’s competition for “The Beast” was definitely lighter. Part two of “Invasion” aired Monday.

Fox’s “The X-Files” was probably the show most damaged by NBC’s mini, and vice versa, because both targeted the same sci-fi audience. “The X-Files” averaged an 11.6/17 from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., which was off a bit from last Sunday’s 13.1/18 in overnights.

CBS’ “Walker, Texas Ranger” movie averaged an 11.8/18 from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., tying “The X-Files” for third place in its first hour and falling behind to fourth place in its second hour.

But CBS’s usual dominance from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. lifted the night’s total for the network. “60 Minutes” averaged a winning 13.6/25 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., while “Touched by an Angel” averaged a first-place 13.8/21 from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., beating the first hour of “Forrest Gump.”

NBC was hit from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. by NBA basketball playoffs that averaged only a 7.5/14. ABC’s “America’s Funniest Home Videos” rated a 5.7/11 at 7 p.m. and a 6.7/12 at 7:30 p.m., while specials on Fox rated a 5.6/10 at 7 p.m. and a 6.2/11 at 7:30 p.m.

During the 8 p.m. hour, NBC placed third with back-to-back episodes of “3rd Rock From the Sun.” The first episode, an original, rated a 9.7/15, while a repeat brought in a 9.9/15. Fox was fourth from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. with “The Simpsons,” 8.9/14, and “King of the Hill,” 8.6/13.

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