ABC, UPN hits offer exposure for other titles

'Millionaire,' 'Smackdown' put up big numbers, big hype

Promotion, promotion, promotion — that’s what ABC and UPN were jazzed about last week as the Alphabet web’s quizshow “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” continued to climb while UPN’s “WWF Smackdown!” got off to a good start with its Thursday preem.

“Millionaire” has turned out to be an invaluable promo platform for ABC’s fall lineup; its segs during the past 14 days have been chock full of plugs for the Alphabet’s new fall series.

The Regis Philbin-hosted quizshow, which ended its initial run on ABC Sunday night, scored its highest numbers yet last Thursday with a 10.9 household rating and 19 share, and a 6.3 in adults 18-49. ABC said Thursday’s 8:30 p.m. installment averaged about 17 million viewers. The show continued its hot run over the weekend, leading ABC to a Saturday night win, according to preliminary Nielsens.

Meanwhile, UPN body slammed its way out of the ratings cellar with the bow of the two-hour “WWF Smackdown!” Spandex showcase. The pro wrestling show turned in UPN’s highest Thursday numbers ever, averaging a 4.2 household rating and 7 share and a 2.4 in adults 18-49 — strong enough to put UPN ahead of reruns on the WB weblet for the night.

“Smackdown!” also won its 8-10 p.m. timeslot among men 18-34, teens and kids. It was also full of promos for fall offerings, especially UPN’s guy-oriented comedies “Grown Ups,” “Shasta McNasty” and Joel Silver’s Vegas-based actioner “The Strip.”

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