CBS tamin’ ‘Damon’

Eye's 'Angel' trips Fox show's second airing

The rookie Fox sitcom “Damon” has cooled somewhat in its second try, retaining 86% of its adults 18-49 lead-in from “The Simpsons” vs. a 95% retention for “Damon’s” premiere the previous Sunday.

Meanwhile, CBS’ Friday’s skating special, while a ho-hum Nielsen performer, drew about 200,000 voters via the Internet. According to CBS, that’s about 10 times the level of participation expected and perhaps the biggest-ever single-event, single-web-site surge in Internet activity.

Preliminary Nielsens for Sunday night show “Damon” scoring a 7.7 rating, 12 share in homes and a 6.0/15 in adults 18-49. Its lead-in, “The Simpsons,” earned scores of 9.0/15 in homes and 7.0/19 in adults 18-49. “Damon” lost its slot in adults 18-49 by 5 shares to CBS’ “Touched by an Angel” (16.3/26 in homes, 7.2/19 in adults 18-49).

If “Angel’s” household rating stands in the final nationals, it’ll be that series’ top rating since Nov. 23. CBS won the night by 12 shares in homes, but was edged by Fox in adults 18-49.

Weekend Nielsens also saw CBS’ NCAA basketball tournament remain a step ahead of year-ago results, making this the top-rated hoops tourney going into the final game since 1994. Through Saturday’s games, the tournament had averaged a 6.6/14, up slightly from last year’s 6.5/14.

Sunday preliminary Nielsens also indicate a crash landing for NBC’s four-hour presentation of “Asteroid” (6.9/11, tied for NBC’s lowest Sunday score this season) and a worst-yet rating for ABC’s “Wonderful World of Disney” (4.3/8 for the Leslie Nielsen vidpic “Safety Patrol”).

Friday’s “Great Skate Debate” earned an unexciting 6.7/12 in homes and a 3.1/10 in adults 18-49, but generated a total of 1.4 million votes from about 200,000 at-home “judges” using the Internet. Excite Inc., which managed the “Debate” web site, estimated at least a third more voters attempted to log on but couldn’t get through due to the volume of activity. Excite said it was the biggest single-event surge in Internet activity in that company’s experience.

“Debate” exec producer Sean Hanish thinks the show reps a breakthrough that could lead to viewers voting on the outcomes of other judged sporting events and awards shows and even on the outcomes of entertainment programs.

The Internet angle may have helped improve “Debate’s” demos. Compared with a May 1996 “Debate” special that did not feature online judging, Friday’s skatecast was up 47% in adults 18-34, 40% in teens and 77% in kids, and that was despite a 13% decline in households.

Each household rating point represents an estimated 980,000 homes, or 1% of the country’s TV homes. Each adults 18-49 rating point reps 1.23 million viewers, 1% of the U.S. total. A share is the same sort of percentage, except it’s measured against only the homes or viewers watching TV during the time slot involved.

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