Peacock web wins rate race

NBC has cruised to its 11th straight primetime Nielsens win, leading the July 28-Aug. 2 race despite a subpar perf for “Dateline NBC.”

Strong film competition knocked last Monday’s “Dateline” to the lowest rating of its current run and Tuesday’s edition to its weakest rating since New Year’s Eve.

NBC retaliated with a film of its own, as “She Fought Alone” keyed the Peacock’s first Wednesday 18-49 win with regular programming since March 1996.

NBC dominated the week, winning five nights in adults 18-49 (including a tie) and finishing second on the other two nights, Friday and Sunday.

It was a discouraging week for some of this summer’s original programs, particularly on Wednesday. Fox’s “Pacific Palisades” made history by losing its hour to the WB and UPN competition in both homes and adults 18-49. That same hour, CBS’ “Coast to Coast” tied UPN in adults 18-49 and finished just 0.1 rating ahead of WB.

On Monday of this week, Fox’s biggest firstrun project, “Roar,” slipped 14% below its previous worst rating (to a 4.3 rating 7 share), as football competition siphoned off male viewers. “Roar” still topped Fox’s year-ago 18-49 rating in the slot (with “Calendar Girl”) by 60%.

ABC’s rough summer continued, as that web failed to equal its year-ago weeklong rating, though that comparable summer ’96 score came against NBC’s awesome Olympics numbers.

Last week’s adults 18-49 averages were: NBC, a 4.2 rating, 12 share (down in rating by 67% vs. results for the same week last year, when NBC aired the Olympics); ABC, 3.4/11 (up 3%); Fox, 3.1/10 (up 41%); CBS, 2.9/10 (up 26%); UPN, 1.5/4 (up 50%); WB, 1.2/4 (up 9%). NBC has won 26 of 27 weeks in the 18-49 demo, having lost during that span only the week of the “Ellen” outing.

Monday

On Monday, Aug. 4, NBC got a hint that it may do fairly well against football this fall when its female-skewing sitcom lineup earned its best numbers to date against ABC’s first Monday gridcast of the year. NBC won the night, though the victory was more due to “Dateline NBC” (11.9 rating, 21 share) than the four sitcoms (6.8/12).

ABC’s Miami-Denver football (7.5/14) managed an encouraging 2% improvement in adults 18-49 over the year-ago telecast, which featured the popular Dallas Cowboys. In households, though, it was ABC’s lowest-rated Monday NFL game in at least 10 years and probably ever.

Fox smashed the 8-9 p.m. competition with a third run of last February’s “World’s Scariest Police Chases” (7.3/13).

Sunday

Fox led Sunday in adults 18-49, while NBC prevailed in 25-54 standings and CBS dominated in homes. Fox’s “X-Files” led its hour in adults 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54.

After five weeks off, “Beyond Belief” lost a little credibility in its return airing, falling 19% below its previous 18-49 average to its lowest rating to date. “Belief” still topped Fox’s year-ago result in the slot by 14%.

Saturday

The networks were sacked by local pre-season football preemptions, but NBC scored its first Saturday 18-49 win in 10 weeks. CBS hung on in homes despite the lowest-rated regular-slot “Walker, Texas Ranger” ever.

ABC’s “The Practice” is fading in its planned fall slot, Saturdays at 10 p.m., last week sustaining a 17% decline in adults 18-49 vs. its first try there the previous week.

Friday

The first summer episode of “Ordinary/Extraordinary” boosted CBS’ Friday fortunes, generating the Eye’s second-best 18-49 rating there in nine weeks. That lead-in helped “JAG” to its highest rerun rating in more than a year.

“Ordinary” also helped send ABC’s “T.G.I.F.” team (as well as NBC’s “Unsolved Mysteries”) to its lowest non-July 4 average this summer, but the night still belonged to ABC and its “20/20.”

Fox earned its top Friday 18-49 score in nine weeks.

Thursday

“Seinfeld” led NBC to another dominating Thursday win.

Wednesday

NBC’s “Wildly Wicked Wednesday” film package is giving the Peacock reason to wonder about its overall sitcom strategy on that night.

Last week, the vidpic “She Fought Alone” helped NBC win the night in homes and in adults 18-49, something the sitcom lineup has failed to do in 33 tries. “She” also led into this summer’s top-rated “Law & Order.”

CBS’ “Murphy Brown” may already be finished as a Wednesday regular. Last week “Brown” reported a big 23% drop compared to its 18-49 lead-in from “The Nanny,” putting it into the range that got “Pearl” canceled in that slot.

WB won the night in kids and was second in teens.

At 10 p.m., CBS’ special edition of “48 Hours” helped dragged rival newsmag “PrimeTime Live” out of the slot lead for the first time since the NBA Playoffs.

Tuesday

CBS won a rare Tuesday with part two of “In the Best of Families,” the nets’ highest-rated multiple-parter in households this summer.

“Families’ ” victims included “Home Improvement,” which slipped to third in its slot in households for the first time in its 347 network airings. The Tim Allen sitcom still won the slot in adults 18-49 and total viewers.

NBC edged ABC for the nightlong win in adults 18-49.

“NewsRadio” held just 91% of its 18-49 lead-in from “Mad About You” but it was NBC’s best retention in that slot in five weeks. At 9:30, “Just Shoot Me” wounded itself, holding only 86% of its 18-49 lead-in from “Frasier.” That’s NBC’s weakest retention that half-hour in 19 weeks. Further, slot rival “Spin City” picked up momentum against “Shoot,” retaining a best-ever 98% of its “Home Improvement” 18-49 lead-in.

The final “Alien Nation” installment oozed to that vidpic series’ lowest firstrun rating to date.

Monday

Fox’s “UFO” special levitated that net into a first-place tie with NBC in adults 18-49 on Monday July 28, while ABC’s “Lies of the Heart” stole the night in homes (Daily Variety, July 30). “Lies” was the week’s top-rated pic among adults 18-49.

Each rating point represents an estimated 970,000 households, or 1% of the country’s TV homes. The share is the same sort of percentage, except that it’s measured against only the households in which TV is being watched during the timeslot involved.

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