Auds 'Mad' about NBC

CBS sent “Joan of Arc,” Michael Landon, “Dr. Quinn” and the Daytime Emmys to do battle with NBC last week, but it wasn’t enough to win the monthlong May sweeps war.

CBS topped the Peacock in May 17-23 primetime Nielsen household results, but is coming up short in its attempt to steal the month’s sweeps households crown from NBC.

The Peacock has dominated both last week and the sweeps in the key adults 18-49 demographic, and is off to a hot start for the current week with the series finale of “Mad About You.” The farewell episode streaked to a 13.6 rating, 20 share in homes; it nailed a 9.4/22 in adults 18-49 for NBC’s best regular-sked household results in that Monday 9-10 p.m. hour since “The Odyssey” last May.

Last week’s adults 18-49 averages were: NBC, a 5.9 rating, 17 share (up in rating by 18% vs. results for the same week last year); Fox, 4.9/14 (up 23%); ABC, 4.3/12 (up 10%); CBS, 3.7/11 (up 9%); WB, 1.8/5 (up 20%); UPN, 0.9/3 (down 36%); Pax TV, a 0.3 rating.

Monday

NBC’s “Mad About You” finale upstaged the season finale of “Ally McBeal” (10.0 rating, 15 share in homes, 8.2/19 in adults 18-49) and kept the second part of “Cleopatra” (10.0/15 in homes, 5.6/14 in adults 18-49) third for that hour.

Fox’s farewell “Melrose Place” (7.3/12 in homes, 5.9/16 in adults 18-49) surged to that series’ best numbers since its year-ago season finale.

The second part of “Cleopatra” tumbled 26% below its Sunday 18-49 result, ending its two-night run with an average 6.6/16 in adults 18-49.

The Nielsen congress impeached CBS’ cable-worn “The American President” (8.3/13 in homes, 3.6/9 in adults 18-49), probably ending any realistic hope CBS had of winning the sweeps in households.

Sunday

Fox conquered the night in adults 18-49 with “Independence Day,” though the film started slowly. Discounting the 4.1/14 from 7-8 p.m. in the 18-49 demo, “Independence” averaged a high-flying 8.2/21, 8 shares better than any 8-10 p.m. rival programming.

ABC’s first part of “Cleopatra” failed to conquer “Independence” head-to-head in adults 18-49 or the Michael Landon biopic in homes, but managed the week’s top movie rating in adults 18-49 and ABC’s best score in that slot since February’s “Storm of the Century.”

NBC’s “Jesse Ventura Story” and ABC’s “Hercules” both proved to be Nielsen weaklings, settling for the two lowest ratings among all the nets’ Sunday films during the sweeps.

The WB’s “Sister, Sister” finale and a subsequent rerun earned that series two highest homes ratings in three months. “Unhappily Ever After” exited with its highest rating in just six weeks.

Saturday

NBC’s combined three hours of “The Pretender” with a National Basketball Assn. overrun to take Saturday in adults 18-49. The 9:18-11:18 “Pretender” season finale nabbed that series’ best 18-49 results since November.

CBS won in homes with its “Dr. Quinn” vidpic, which stitched up CBS’ best nonsports homes rating in that slot since November. But “Quinn” proved incompatible with “Walker, Texas Ranger,” which slipped to its lowest firstrun regular-slot rating since Oct. 17.

Friday

NBC held on to the night in adults 18-49, but CBS walked off with household honors thanks to the Daytime Emmys (Daily Variety, May 24). CBS improved by 2% on NBC’s year-ago homes rating for the kudocast, but declined by 10% in adults 18-49.

ABC dipped to its lowest Friday 18-49 average since Christmas week, as a “21 Hottest Stars Under 21″ spec commanded a 33 share among teens, but just a 10 among adults 18-49.

NBC’s farewell “Homicide” locked up that series’ top homes rating since Feb. 19.

Thursday

NBC’s Thursday schedule wrapped up its season with that lineup’s highest 18-49 share of the campaign, a 40. That was good enough to triple the 13 of second-place Fox (Daily Variety, May 24).

All four WB sitcoms stumbled to their lowest firstrun ratings since last Sept. 24.

Wednesday

ABC claimed Wednesday laurels in adults 18-49 despite the weakest 18-49 lead-in retention to date for the fading (but renewed) “Norm Show” (Daily Variety, May 21). NBC nosed ahead for the night in homes, though the competition of “60 Minutes II” dropped “Dateline” to its lowest-ever homes tally as a Wednesday regular.

Recent renewal “Chicago Hope” rewarded CBS’ support with its highest Wednesday homes rating since premiere week last fall.

Tuesday

“Joan of Arc” cooled by 15% vs. its part-one homes rating the previous Sunday, but still conquered the night’s households competition (Daily Variety, May 20). Extra half-hours of “Home Improvement” and “NYPD Blue” kept ABC four shares ahead of CBS in adults 18-49.

The 8:30 “Home” nailed down ABC’s best homes rating in that half-hour since Nov. 11, 1997, and “NYPD Blue” put the cuffs on its biggest 18-49 rating in four months.

Monday

Fox’s May 17 episode of “Ally McBeal” derailed NBC’s “Atomic Train” in adults 18-49, while CBS inched ahead for the night in homes (Daily Variety, May 19).

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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