Fox ‘Party’ rages; ‘Ice’ hot for CBS

ABC held onto its typical Wednesday win in homes, but Fox took the night in the key adults 18-49 demo as “Party of Five” generated its highest rating ever in young adults and total viewers.

For the night, ABC was first in homes (10.5/16) and second in young adults (7.1). CBS was second in homes (10.0/16) and fourth in young adults (4.8). Fox was third in homes (9.3/14) and first in young adults (7.4). NBC was fourth in homes (8.8/14) and third in young adults (5.4).

Fox’s 8 p.m. drama “Beverly Hills, 90210” placed first in its timeslot in adults 18-49 (7.1) for each half-hour. Its household rating was a (9.2/14). At 9 p.m., “Party of Five” received its highest rating ever in young adults (7.7) and total viewers (13.7 million).

It also received its second-highest rating ever in homes (9.3/14), and it outperformed its lead-in in homes and young adults. “Party” was second to “Drew Carey” (11.0/16 hones and 8.7 adults 18-49) in young adults in its first half-hour, but it outrated “Ellen” (8.5/13 and 7.0) for a first-place finish in that demo at 9:30 p.m.

‘Dharma,’ ‘Ellen’ slip

ABC won in homes despite a season low for 8:30 p.m. sitcom “Dharma & Greg” (10.1/15 in homes and 7.0 in young adults) and the lowest original Wednesday episode of “Ellen” since last October. “Dharma” still placed first in homes, but fell to second in young adults, while “Ellen” was third in homes and second in young adults.

CBS’ 8:30 p.m. pot-smoking episode of “Murphy Brown” (8.8/13 and 4.2) perked up 17% in adults 18-49 from last week, but still placed third in the timeslot in homes and fourth in young adults.

But ice-skating really helped the Eye web at 9 p.m. “Scott Hamilton: Back on the Ice” placed second to “Drew Carey” in homes at 9 p.m. and first in homes at 9:30 p.m. The special placed fourth and third in young adults for the two respective half-hours. For the full hour, though, CBS was up 33% in homes (11.2/17) and 63% in young adults (4.9) from the prior week with Bryant Gumbel’s newsmag.

NBC’s struggles continue

NBC continued to struggle on Wednesdays with two sitcom repeats leading into “3rd Rock From the Sun,” which has lost its sparkle this season. “3rd Rock” was fourth in homes (8.9/13) and third in young adults (6.0).

UPN had its first night with “Star Trek” (4.7/7 and 3.2) at 8 p.m. and “The Sentinel” (3.3/5 and 2.0) at 9 p.m. Both shows fell from their season averages in homes, and “Star Trek” dropped from its season average in young adults, while “The Sentinel” rose slightly. For the night, UPN was fifth in homes (4.0/6) and young adults (2.6). The WB was sixth for the night in homes (3.1/5) and young adults (1.7).

Separately, ABC picked up the back-nine episodes of “Cracker,” and CBS ordered more episodes (but sources say not the full back-nine) of “Dellaventura.” CBS also ordered two additional episodes of “JAG,” bringing the total season order to 24.

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