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Eye moves past NBC in homes

NFL scores for ABC

CBS is sending a message to NBC this summer — the Eye now owns first place in primetime’s households race.

While NBC is maintaining its hold on the advertiser-friendly adults 18-49 demographic, where CBS runs fourth, the Eye has moved ahead impressively in the more traditional measure of household ratings. CBS has now won five out of six weeks since the NBA Playoffs by that measure, and its Aug. 2-8 homes triumph featured CBS’ biggest margin of victory since the January week of the AFC Championship football game.

On Monday of this week, meanwhile, ABC’s new season of NFL coverage got off to a stirring start with a 10.1 rating, 18 share for the debut game of the new Cleveland Browns franchise vs. the Dallas Cowboys. That telecast peaked in Cleveland with a 37.0/55, nearly Super Bowl-level numbers and probably one of the top ratings ever for a pre-season game in any single market.

CBS dominated Aug. 2-8 results in households by earning the week’s three highest newsmag homes ratings with “60 Minutes,” “60 Minutes II” and Monday’s “48 Hours,” and by swaying the Wednesday audience with “Undue Influence.”

NBC faded with worst-ever “Providence” numbers on Friday and the Peacock’s lowest-rated regular-fare Saturday ever.

The week’s adults 18-49 averages were: NBC, a 3.2 rating, 11 share (down in rating by 18% vs. results for the same week last year); ABC, 2.8/10 (down 15%) tied with Fox, 2.8/10 (down 13%); CBS, 2.5/9 (down 14%); WB, 1.2/4 (down 8%); UPN, 1.0/3 (up 11%). Inspired by Friday’s strong “Scared Straight” rerun, UPN rallied to its best average since mid May.

National primetime 18-49 averages for the top cable services last week were: HBO, 1.2/4 (down 14%); USA, 1.0/4 (even); TBS, 0.9/3 (up 13%); TNT, 0.7/3 (down 13%); Lifetime, 0.6/2 (up 20%).

Monday

Cleveland-Dallas football tackled the Aug. 9 competition with the highest rating for a pre-season NFL gridcast since August 1995.

The WB debuted its firstrun summer series “Kate Joplin” (2.4/4 in the metered markets) and retained an OK 83% of its lead-in from “Movie Stars” (2.9/5). Reruns of “For Your Love” in that slot had averaged a 77% retention.

Viewers are saying “no thanks” to CBS’ firstrun “Thanks” (5.4/9 in homes, 2.5/8 in adults 18-49), which held just 86% of its 18-49 lead-in from “King of Queens” (6.2/11 in homes, 2.9/10 in adults 18-49).

UPN’s new urban-sitcom lineup clicked, averaging a 1.8/3 in homes and a 1.2 rating in adults 18-49. It was the netlet’s best Monday 18-49 score in five months.

Sunday

NBC nipped Fox and CBS for the night in adults 18-49, though Fox had the higher 7-10 p.m. average. CBS swept Sunday in homes.

“Dateline NBC” hit its lowest Sunday rating ever, but the promising summer series “You Asked For It” followed with the Peacock’s second-best 18-49 rating that hour since the NBA playoffs.

Saturday

Fox football fumbled to what’s apparently the lowest primetime NFL rating ever, but that was still enough to win the night in adults 18-49. CBS prevailed in homes.

Friday

UPN tied for third in men 18-34, beating NBC and tying CBS, thanks to the rerun docu “Scared Straight: 20 Years Later.” It was UPN’s top-rated Friday ever in adults 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54.

ABC won the night despite problems for this fall’s planned “T.G.I.F.” lead-off hitter “The Hughleys,” which held just 88% of its 18-49 lead-in. That’s the lowest retention in the half-hour for ABC since Sept. 11.

NBC tumbled to third for the night with worst-ever results for both the fading “Providence” and the retiring “Homicide.”

Thursday

With a small boost from comedies airing in the usual “ER” slot, NBC doubled its closest pursuer, Fox, in nightlong 18-49 results.

Wednesday

ABC led the night in adults 18-49, but troubles are mounting for its sitcom lineup. “The Norm Show” is fizzling at 8:30, last week holding just 82% of its 18-49 lead-in. That’s ABC’s weakest retention in the slot since Jan. 20 (“Brother’s Keeper”).

CBS won Wednesday in homes with “Undue Influence,” which concluded its two-night run with the highest summer-rerun multiple-parter homes rating in more than two years, since July 1997’s “In the Best of Families.”

Tuesday

NBC beat ABC’s revamped Tuesday sked in both homes and adults 18-49 for a third straight week, as “It’s Like, You Know…” and “Sports Night” continue to slump. “Sports” struck out with lowest-ever ratings while retaining just 68% of its 18-49 lead-in from “Dharma & Greg.”

CBS triumphed in homes, as “60 Minutes II” won its slot for the sixth time in seven weeks. NBC was led by “Dateline,” the week’s top-rated newsmag in adults 18-49.

UPN topped the WB’s fading Tuesday tandem by a full point in one of the WB’s target demos, women 18-34. Tough teen/young-adult competition from Fox’s Woodstock spec impacted the WB.

Monday

ABC’s golf tied Fox for first in adults 18-49 on Aug. 2 (though Fox had the higher 8-10 p.m. score), while CBS led in homes (Daily Variety, Aug. 4).

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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