Net defeats ABC in battle of 'Millionaires'

Fox has cashed in big time with its spec “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire,” which helped the net become the first to defeat ABC on a Tuesday in adults 18-49 since the Alphabet’s own “Millionaire” began as a series regular last month.

The two-hour special, which concluded with millionaire Rick Rockwell of San Diego exchanging “I do’s” with California’s Darva Conger, drew 16.02 million viewers and an adults 18-49 rating of 7.4/18, according to Nielsen. Fox edged ABC’s 7.3/18 with ratings that more than doubled the network’s adults 18-49 score for the previous Tuesday with “World’s Sexiest Commercials” (3.6/10).

The special delivered Fox’s largest-ever women 18-34 audience on a Tuesday and the net’s largest audience overall on a Tuesday (excluding baseball) since March 3, 1998. The show grew each half-hour in all ratings categories, including an impressive adults 18-49 rise from 4.8 at 8 p.m. to 10.3 at 9:30 p.m.

While Fox has stated recently its intentions to divorce itself from the more violent reality-based programs like “When Animals Attack,” don’t be surprised if it becomes wedded to “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire,” if only as an occasional sweeps stunt.

ABC’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” (28.66 million, 8.9/23 in adults 18-49) topped the Fox special head-to-head in adults 18-49 (8.9 vs. 5.3). Compared with last week, though, the ABC gamer was down 7% in total viewers and 14% in adults 18-49.

ABC won the night in total viewers.

Opposite the “Millionaire” action, CBS drama “JAG” (16.59 million, 5.0/13 in adults 18-49) continued to impress, logging the best adults 18-49 and adults 25-54 tallies in its four seasons on the Eye network.

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