Alphabet dominates key demo

Net logs 9th straight win in adults 18-49, wins week

ABC, already the No. 1 network choice among viewers this season, has begun to assert itself as a favorite of advertisers as well.

The streaking Alphabet net, which earlier this month set its all-time best mark for consecutive victories in total viewers, last week set a new high-water mark with its ninth straight triumph in the key advertiser demo of adults 18-49, according to Nielsen. It’s the net’s best in-season streak since Nielsen began tracking the demo during the 1983-84 season.

The Alphabet hasn’t lost a week in adults 18-49 since dropping two consecutive frames to NBC (each by one-tenth of a ratings point) during the February sweeps.

ABC led in the demo last week by its Sunday and Thursday installments of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” which ranked first and second for the week. A repeat of NBC’s “Friends” placed third.

For the week of April 17-23, ABC also won for the 17th straight time in total viewers, with all three of its “Millionaire” segs topping that list.

Overall, it was another slow pre-sweeps April week for the major nets. In total viewers, Fox’s 7.45 million was its lowest of the season, while CBS (10.74 million) slipped to its second lowest and NBC (10.18) its third lowest. Even ABC dropped to its lowest level (12.19 million) since Christmas week.

UPN joins ABC in entering May sweeps on a roll, having topped weblet rival the WB for 15 consecutive weeks in total viewers. Last week, it went against the trend of the major nets and posted its largest weekly aud (4.15 million) in nine weeks. And in adults 18-49, UPN has not slipped below the WB since Thanksgiving week. In the 22 weeks since, UPN has won 18 weeks in the demo and the weblets have tied four times.

The four-week May sweeps period begins Thursday and concludes May 24.

Adults 18-49 ratings for the week of April 17-23: ABC, a 4.5 rating/13 share (up 15% vs. the same week a year ago); NBC, 3.9/12 (down 13%); Fox, 3.6/11 (down 18%); CBS, 3.2/9 (down 6%); UPN, 1.7/5 (up 70%); the WB, 1.2/3 (down 21%); and Pax, 0.3/1 (even).

In households, it’s: ABC, 8.1/14 (up 19%); CBS, 7.4/13 (down 12%); NBC, 7.3/13 (down 9%); Fox, 4.9/9 (down 20%); UPN, 2.7/5 (up 59%); the WB, 2.1/4 (down 25%); and Pax, 0.9/2 (up 12%).


ABC is off to a good start this week with its pic “The Three Stooges” (16.53 million, 7.0 in A18-49) dominating each half-hour. In adults 18-49, it gave ABC its best delivery in the time period with regular entertainment programming since Jan. 1, 1996 (when the Rose Bowl led into the theatrical “Sneakers”). Pic now stands as the No. 7 movie of the season in the demo and ranks fourth among men 18-49.

“Roswell” continues to boost the WB’s fortunes in the 9 p.m. hour, this week retaining 81% of its repeat “7th Heaven” audience among adults 18-49 and 89% among adults 18-34 — the best results for any series in the slot this season. “Roswell” even built on its lead-in in several categories, including men 18-34 and men 18-49.

In the battle of three rookie dramas at 10, all airing originals, ABC’s “Once & Again” won in adults 18-49 (5.3), while NBC’s “Third Watch” led in viewers (11.65 million), just ahead of CBS’ “Family Law” (11.56 million).


ABC’s claymation Easter special “The Miracle Maker” scored well among adults 18-49, winning its two-hour timeslot with a 4.1/13. In total viewers, its 11.45 million placed second to CBS (15.35 million). For the night, ABC topped Fox and CBS by 5 shares in adults 18-49 and bested CBS by 2 shares in homes.

Playoff action resulted in a sizable boost for NBC’s pro basketball ratings. The game between the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers averaged 8.89 million viewers and a 3.7/15 in adults 18-49, up 71% and 61% vs. regular-season action in the 7 p.m. hour one week ago. The net’s three-game overnight average for Sunday’s NBA action was a 6.3, up 7% from the first playoff Sunday of a year ago (5.9).

CBS won its firstrun theatrical battle with NBC, as “Michael” (11.0 million, 4.1/11 in A18-49) topped “In & Out” (8.6 million, 3.6/10).

ABC’s “The Practice” (17.33 million, 6.1/17 in A18-49) easily won its hour with its largest audience to date for a repeat.


ABC’s spec “Planet Earth 2000,” which featured Leonardo DiCaprio, was hardly titanic in the ratings. It landed deep in fourth in homes for the hour (3.0/6), slipping from a 3.2/7 in its first half-hour to a 2.7/5 at 8:30.

CBS’ “Martial Law,” airing for the first time in six weeks, won its hour in total viewers (9.84 million) and placed second to Fox in adults 18-49.

NBC’s “The Others” played to its smallest audience of the season for a firstrun episode (6.21 million), while the net’s “Profiler” logged its smallest aud for an original episode at 10 p.m. (7.13 million) this season.Friday

With NBC’s dramas in repeat, Fox took the night in adults 18-49, while the Peacock won comfortably in homes.

Further evidence that ABC’s “TGIF” will likely bite the dust: The two shows surrounding the WB-bound “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” — “The Hughleys” and “Making the Band” — dropped to season lows in homes and adults 18-49.

The UPN original movie “Alien Fury” matched the netlet’s largest Friday-pic aud (3.0 million) since “Striking Distance” (3.5 million) on Feb. 4.


The return of newsmag “20/20 Downtown” helped ABC win the night in total viewers (16.4 million) and place a close second to ABC in adults 18-49 (5.9 vs. 5.7). “Downtown” topped a repeat “ER” in viewers (14.08 million vs. 13.86), delivering the largest aud in the hour for ABC in six weeks.

NBC’s “Daddio” (11.65 million, 5.6/18 in A18-49) retained a lowest-yet 78% of its “Friends” lead-in among young adults (7.2/25). The once-sizzling rookie laffer still won its half-hour in the key demo, but fell behind CBS’ “Diagnosis Murder” (12.05 million) in total viewers.

CBS medical drama “Chicago Hope,” ailing in the 9 p.m. hour since “Millionaire” moved opposite it in January, matched its lowest firstrun homes rating to date (5.7).

“Millionaire” slipped to its lowest Thursday adults 18-49 rating since becoming a series regular (8.0/22) and matched its smallest audience (25.68 million) for any regular seg.

UPN’s “WWF Smackdown!” won its two-hour block in kids and teens and from 9-10 p.m. finished just behind “Millionaire” in people 12-34 (4.9/16 vs. 4.6/15). Its total-viewer tally (8.17 million) was its second best in the last 10 weeks.


For the second straight Wednesday, newsmags topped the night’s highlights: NBC’s “Dateline” (11.88 million, 4.0/13 in A18-49) won its hour in young adults for the first time in six weeks and ABC’s “20/20” (12.48 million, 5.2/15) topped NBC’s “Law & Order” in adults 18-49 for the second straight week after losing their previous nine head-to-head battles in the demo.

Elsewhere, it was pretty bleak: ABC’s “Then Came You” drew its smallest aud yet (8.14 million); “The Mirror Has Two Faces” logged CBS’ lowest adults 18-49 rating for a Wednesday pic this season (2.8/8); and UPN’s “Star Trek Voyager” dipped to its lowest homes rating for an original episode (3.1) since March 24, 1999 (2.9).


ABC won in total viewers for the 16th consecutive Tuesday, although “Millionaire” slipped to its lowest total-viewer tally (24.49 million) and adults 18-49 rating and share (6.8/21) for any hourlong Tuesday seg this season.

Repeats of comedies “The Parkers” (1.2) and “Moesha” (1.3) lifted UPN to its best adults 18-49 rating for the Tuesday at 8 hour since “I Dare You” on Feb. 1. But that wasn’t enough to boost the netlet’s struggling rookie drama “The Beat,” whose 0.6 rating in the demo is on par with its average for the previous three weeks.


CBS won April 17 in total viewers, while Fox won in adults 18-49.

The Eye net was led by “Everybody Loves Raymond,” which was the week’s top-rated entertainment series in adults 25-54 (7.7). “Raymond” edged originals of “Ally McBeal” (7.6) and “NYPD Blue” (7.5).

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