WB series bows big; UPN up with 'Seven'

The WB may have another hit on its hands with “Charmed,” and UPN has rebounded from two tough nights of premieres with a solid debut from “Seven Days.”

“Charmed” teamed with a big second-season premiere from “Dawson’s Creek” to lead the WB to a rare fourth-place finish for the night in households and adults 18-49, ahead of UPN and Fox, the latter of which had to toss on nearly two hours of “Worlds Funniest!” to fill a rain delay in the National League Championship Series.

“Charmed” conjured up WB records for best premiere rating ever in homes (5.2 rating, 8 share) and adults 18-49 (a 3.7/10) and many other categories, plus all-time WB records for adults 18-49, women 18-49 and women 18-34 (tied with that night’s “Dawson’s Creek”).

For the evening, WB was first among kids, teens (male and female) and adults and females 12-34, and second only to ABC among adults 18-34. It was the WB’s second-highest-rated night ever in households and highest in total viewers.

WB notes that these numbers were boosted somewhat by Fox’s rain-delay misfortune and are sure to come down when Fox is back to its regular Wednesday fare, which generally dominates the young female demos that WB seeks on the night.

‘Seven’ clicks

UPN, meanwhile, clicked with its two-hour premiere of “Seven Days” (3.4/6 in homes, 2.0/5 in adults 18-49). That’s up 3% in homes and 11% in adults 18-49 vs. the year-ago 8-9 p.m. premiere of slot predecessor “The Sentinel,” and, more importantly, snaps UPN out of a disastrous 48 hours in which premiering series were failing to equal even recent rerun levels.

This “Seven Days” premiere is essentially flat vs. where “Sentinel” was performing at this time last year and isn’t approaching UPN Wednesday levels regu-larly achieved by “Star Trek Voyager.” Still, it’s been since last November that any UPN series besides “Voyager” has managed numbers this strong on a Wednesday.

“Seven” topped UPN’s 1997-98 Wednesday season average by 24% in households, with the netlet’s best rating on that night since last March 4 (a two-hour “Voyager”).

ABC dominated the night with a 10.2/17 in homes and a 6.7/18 in adults 18-49. Those figures got a boost from the top 18-49 numbers to date for the Wednes-day “20/20″ (6.5/18). ABC’s Wednesday problem spot is 9:30, where “The Secret Lives of Men” (8.2/13 in homes, 5.8/15 in adults 18-49) held just 67% of its 18-49 lead-in from “Drew Carey” (11.5/18 in homes, 8.6/22 in adults 18-49).

NBC was second in both those races, as the intro of Jon Lovitz to “NewsRadio” (7.7/12 in homes, 4.8/12 in adults 18-49) sparked a 17% increase over that slot’s 18-49 lead-in.

CBS’ promising rookie duo of “Maggie Winters” (7.7/12 in homes, 4.0/11 in adults 18-49) and “To Have and to Hold” (6.8/11 in homes, 3.1/8 in adults 18-49), lost momentum in their second tries, due in part to a 10% falloff vs. premiere week by “The Nanny” (7.3/12 in homes, 3.4/10 in adults 18-49) at 8 p.m.

Rookies slump

“Maggie Winters” built by an exemplary 18% on that 18-49 lead-in, but that’s down from “Maggie’s” 29% build premiere week. “To Have and to Hold” declined by 16% vs. CBS’ previous-hour 18-49 rating, but that’s actually an improvement over last week’s 20% falloff.

Baseball again took it on the chin due to extenuating circumstances, this time the two-hour rain delay, which dropped Fox’s San Diego-Atlanta numbers to a 6.2/14 in homes and 3.6/14 in adults 18-49. That’s apparently the second-lowest-rated league championship series game ever, ahead of only a Saturday Atlanta-Florida telecast last year.

Compared with the comparable year-ago telecast, Fox was down by 18% in adults 18-49.

NBC did better with the 8-8:43 overrun of the extra-innings American League matchup between Cleveland and the N.Y. Yankees (12.2/21 in homes, a 5.7 rating in adults 18-49).

WB’s big night included a successful season premiere for “Dawson’s Creek” (5.2/9 in homes, 3.2/9 in adults 18-49), which tied its third-highest rating to date. That’s an exceptional performance for a show that’s moved to a new night. The slot competition, though, is due to get a lot tougher when Fox’s “Beverly Hills 90210″ returns.

Nightlong adults 18-49 averages were: ABC, 6.7/18 (down in rating by 6% vs. results for the same night last year); NBC, 4.8/13 (down 6%); CBS, 3.6/10 (down 12%); WB, 3.4/9 (up 100%); Fox, 2.7/8 (down 39% due to its rain delay); UPN, 2.0/5 (down 23% vs. last year, with “Star Trek: Voyager” on the schedule).

Each household rating point represents an estimated 994,000 homes, or 1% of the country’s TV households. Each adults 18-49 rating point reps 1.239 million viewers, 1% of the U.S. total. A share is the same sort of percentage, except it measures only the homes or viewers watching TV during the timeslot involved.

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