Thanks a ‘Million’

ABC gameshow wows week's competish

How well did ABC do, Nielsen-wise, in its gambit of bowing the Regis Philbin-hosted quizshow “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” as a primetime strip last week?

Did the Alphabet web score:

A) The highest-rated program of the week in total viewers and the adults 18-49 demo.

B) Total viewer growth of 59% from the Aug. 16 bow of “Millionaire” to its most recent airing Aug. 22.

C) Its first 8:30 p.m. Thursday timeslot win with series programming since Jan. 12, 1984.

D) A ratings increase from “Millionaire’s” lead-in in all seven airings thus far.

The final answer, natch, is all of the above.

“Millionaire” got off to a fast start in its Aug. 16 bow and drove the Alphabet web to win the week of Aug. 16-22 in total viewers (8.76 million) and adults 18-49 (3.5 rating, 11 share).

NBC was a close second in adults 18-49 with a 3.3/11, thanks in part to a strong showing by “Will & Grace” in its new 9 p.m. Tuesday timeslot, followed by Fox (3.0/10) and CBS (2.4/8). Weblets UPN and the WB were in a dead heat (1.1/4), due in part to UPN’s Friday “Source Hip-Hop Awards” kudocast.

CBS squeaked out a households win for the week with a 6.3/12 compared with ABC’s 6.1/11, and the Eye also was right behind ABC in total viewers (8.73 million). The Eye wasn’t as successful as ABC with its summer stunt of airing reruns of “Martial Law” over four consecutive nights (Aug. 17-20), but it did boost viewership among men 25-54.

ABC took a break from “Millionaire” on Monday for football, but the quizshow returned Tuesday and will run through Sunday.

Monday

ABC won the night in households (9.1/16) and the adult 18-49 (5.3) with its pre-season pigskin telecast of Denver vs. Green Bay. CBS’ summer original series “Thanks” scored its highest household number to date (5.7/10), but trailed Fox’s “That ’70s Show” rerun in adults 18-49 with a 2.6 versus “’70s” 3.2.

Fox and NBC were tied in second place for the night in the adults 18-49 demo with a 3.5 apiece.

UPN’s season preem of “Moesha” at 8 p.m. earned a 2.7/5 in households and a 1.4 in the demo — on par with last season’s average. The bow of the “Moesha” spinoff “Grown Ups” at 8:30 p.m. built slightly on its lead-in, earning a 2.9/5 in households and a 1.7 in adults 18-49. “Grown Ups” delivered UPN’s best showing in the Monday 8:30 p.m. slot in more than a year.

Sunday

CBS won the night in households (8.4/15) thanks to “60 Minutes,” “Touched by an Angel” and the rerun of the telepic “To Sir with Love II,” but ABC scored the win in adults 18-49 (3.6) with its 9-10 p.m. edition of “Millionaire,” which banked a solid 5.9 in the key demo.

“Millionaire” built on its “Wonderful World of Disney” adults 18-49 lead-in by a whopping 100%. The Sunday edition of “Millionaire” was the most-watched program of the week with nearly 15 million viewers.

Saturday

NBC took the households crown (4.9/10), while CBS and Fox were close behind with a 4.8/10 apiece. But ABC’s “Millionaire” was the highest-rated show of the night, averaging a 5.9/12 in households from 8:30-9 p.m. Fox won the night in adults 18-49 with Saturday night stalwarts “Cops” and “America’s Most Wanted.”

Friday

UPN had a respectable showing with its “Source Hip-Hop Awards” kudocast, which averaged a 2.5/5 in households and a 1.5 in adults 18-49. NBC, buoyed by “Providence” and “Dateline,” was neck and neck with ABC in households with a 6.1/1 and 6.0/12, respectively.

ABC’s “Millionaire” was the highest-rated show of the night in households (8.7/17) and adults 18-49 (4.8), allowing ABC to eke out an adults 18-49 win for the night with a 3.1 to NBC’s 3.0. Fox’s primetime installment of its Saturday latenight vehicle “Mad TV” earned a mere 2.5/5 in households and 1.5 in adults 18-49.

Thursday

NBC handily won the night in households (7.6/14) and adults 18-49 (4.8), but ABC pulled off a rare 8:30 p.m. timeslot households and demo win with “Millionaire.” At 10 p.m., CBS’ “48 Hours” was neck and neck with NBC’s “ER” in households, but the medical drama ruled in the adult 18-49 demo with a 4.3 vs. “48 Hours” at 3.2.

ABC’s “Nightline in Primetime” spec from 10-11 p.m. brought up the rear with a 3.0 in adults 18-49.

Wednesday

It was “Millionaire” all the way, fueling ABC to win the night in households (7.3/13) and adult demo (4.3). Fox took the No. 2 spot in adults 18-49 (3.9) with its 8-10 p.m. broadcast of the pic “The Frighteners.”

Tuesday

NBC ruled Tuesday among adults 18-49 with its back-to-back 9-10 p.m. reruns of “Will & Grace,” pushing the Peacock to a 4.6 demo average for the night. ABC’s “Millionaire” still won its 8:30 p.m. timeslot in households (7.7/14) and the demo (4.2).

Amid a sea of reruns, viewers continued to flock to newsmags. CBS’ “60 Minutes II” won in households from 9-10 p.m. (7.7/13) and NBC’s “Dateline” drew a 9.6/17 in households and 5.3 in the demo from 10-11 p.m.

Monday

ABC soared on the 8:30 p.m. bow of “Millionaire,” which built 42% on its “Drew Carey” lead-in to average a 7.2/13 in households, although Fox’s “That ’70s Show” bested the quizshow in the demo with a 3.9 versus a 3.7. CBS’ summer original series, “Thanks,” tied for second place in households with Fox’s 8:30 p.m. “That ’70s Show” rerun with a 4.9/9.

CBS’ “Everybody Loves Raymond” took its 9 p.m. timeslot with an 8.2/14 in households and a 4.1 in adults 19-49. But ABC still won the night in households (6.8/12) and adults 18-49 (4.1).

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