No Nets fell behind last year's pace in adults 18-49

HOLLYWOOD — A dominant Thursday night was enough to power NBC to first place in key demos for the week, a frame that proved a winning one for each of the six nets.

According to Nielsen, the Peacock’s Thursday claimed the top five spots among adults 18-49 for the week of Oct. 9-15 — led by “ER” and a special 8:30 “Friends” (both at 15.4) — in topping ABC by a fairly comfortable 10% in the key demo. NBC also won in adults 25-54 and adults 18-34, while ABC prevailed in total viewers.

In all, the six broadcast nets were up a combined 10% in viewers and 5% in adults 18-49 vs. the second week of the 1999-2000 season. In fact, none of the nets fell behind last year’s pace in the demo — with ABC, UPN and the WB all up and CBS, NBC and Fox flat.

The WB (1.9/5) caught UPN in adults 18-49 for the week for the first time since December.

It must be comforting for the Peacock to take the week in demos despite airing three relatively low-rated baseball playoff games and seeing some hefty week-two drop-offs for its rookie dramas. Plus, some of its biggest returning hits — “Law & Order,” “Frasier” and its winning Friday lineup — have yet to premiere.

The week saw dropoffs in the 25%-30% range for NBC’s “Deadline,” “Titans” and “Ed,” whose initial solid ratings may have been artificially boosted by heavy Olympics promotion. But because these hours weren’t strong for NBC last season, these dropoffs are neither surprising nor alarming.

“Ed,” which won its hour in adults 18-49 for a second straight week, appears to be the strongest of the three, although it’s down vs. what “Third Watch” averaged for its first two Sunday segs a year ago.

CBS’ rookie drama class fared very well despite facing stronger competition last week from the likes of baseball’s League Championship Series and the Miss America Pageant. Friday’s “The Fugitive” and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” were both down 9% in viewers and 11% in 18-49, while Saturday’s “That’s Life” and “The District” were both off by 12% in adults 18-49.

Net’s first-year comedy “Yes, Dear” also continues to perform surprisingly well.

ABC launched two new series during the week to solid results — “The Geena Davis Show” and “Gideon’s Crossing” — although each faced atypical competish. The Alphabet’s first two weeks with a revamped Friday comedy lineup have resulted in surprisingly small dropoffs vs. a year ago, with second-week results up in adults 18-49 and adults 18-34.

Fox, which has aired lots of baseball and will air the World Series beginning Saturday, has really only launched two nights (Tuesday and Friday) and is up impressively in demos on both. Tuesday’s “Dark Angel” looked very strong in its second outing, while “Freakylinks” took a hit in its second try, falling far behind a strong lead-in from “Police Videos.”

Overall, it continues to be difficult to gauge the strength of some new and returning series, especially with a big chunk of the New York audience sidetracked by its baseball teams’ playoff runs. And it looks as if Gothamites may have a tad bit of interest in the World Series, too.

Monday

CBS’ 8-10 p.m. comedy block continues to roll, with “King of Queens” (14.84m), “Yes Dear” (14.74m) and “Becker” (17.58m) drawing their largest auds of the season. “Yes Dear” also built on its “King” lead-in again in both 18-49 (by 7%) and 18-34 (by 9%).

Also this week, the Eye’s 10 p.m. drama “Family Law” topped NBC’s “Third Watch” in adults 18-49 for the first time in three tries this season.

The WB also had a very strong Monday, with “7th Heaven” and “Roswell” combining for the netlet’s best-ever women 18-34 rating on the night (3.7/11) and its best Monday 18-49 rating (2.5/6) since February 1999. “Heaven’s” 4.2/12 in women 18-34 was its best since May 1999 while “Roswell” came through with the WB’s best time period ratings since “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” aired in the slot in January 1998.

ABC’s “Monday Night Football” (16.13m, 7.2/19) had no problem opposite a blowout baseball game on Fox (8.80m, 3.2/9). Fox wrapped its coverage of the NLCS (won by the Mets in five games) with a weak 6.6 primetime rating in homes — well below last year’s very strong 11.9 on NBC but also behind the average for the three previous years (9.1).

Sunday

ABC won the night in both viewers (16.04m) and adults 18-49 (5.3/13), although the net’s national numbers came down a few ticks. NBC’s “Ed,” which aired from 8:30 to 9:30 in most of the country due to baseball overrun, came up to a 5.0/11 in nationals, topping “Millionaire” head-to-head at 9 (5.5 to 5.2).

Although they didn’t go head-to- head nationally, CBS’ “Touched by an Angel” topped timeslot drama rival “Ed” by 42% in total viewers, with the NBC drama winning by 25% in adults 18-49 (5.0 to 4.0) and by 8% in adults 25-54 (5.4 to 5.0).

Saturday

The “Miss America Pageant” fell to its lowest homes rating ever (8.6/16) but still won the night for ABC in viewers (12.6m), adults 18-49 (3.9/12), adults 18-34 (4.7/18) and teens (3.6/16). In fact, it was the net’s best 18-49 score on a Saturday since February (“Phenomenon”) and its largest aud since January (special “Millionaire”).

It lost out to the final hour of “Miss America,” but CBS’ “The District” built on its “Walker, Texas Ranger” lead-in by 36% in both viewers (to 13.69m) and adults 18-49 (to 3.8/11). Its 18-49 score is 15% better than what “Walker” pulled down in the 10 p.m. hour a year ago (3.3).

Friday

CBS’ drama lineup held up well in its second week, down just 7% in viewers and 12% in adults 25-54 despite NBC week-to-week baseball gains of 37% and 42%, respectively. Eye won each half-hour in viewers and 25-54 for the second straight week, but now must brace for the premiere of NBC’s strong lineup this week.

“The Trouble With Normal,” the ABC Friday laffer that appeared in the most early trouble, strengthened its standing by maintaining its 18-49 premiere average (2.8) and building by 17% in 18-34 (to a 2.8/12) despite a weaker “Two Guys and a Girl.” “Trouble” also distanced itself from the WB’s “Grosse Pointe,” winning in adults 18-34 by 8 shares one week after holding just a 3-share advantage.

ABC’s 18-34 gains from 9 to 10 (up 13%) were at the expense of Fox’s “Freakylinks,” which tumbled week-to-week by 29% in the demo (2.5/10 from 3.5/13).

Thursday

Its big guns powered NBC to a 25-share victory in adults 18-49 (Daily Variety, Oct. 16).

At 9:30, “Just Shoot Me” retained an OK 85% of “Will’s” lead-in. Biggest lost among demos (20%) came from “Will’s” strong suit (women 18-34), while three competing hourlong shows gained in the demo at 9:30 — CBS’ “City of Angels” by 23%, the WB’s “Charmed” by 21% and “Millionaire” by 19%.

Wednesday

“Bette” and “Welcome to New York” delivered CBS’ best ratings in the night’s leadoff hour in more than five years, but the Eye must now hope that its history of ineptness on the night with comedies doesn’t catch up with it (Daily Variety, Oct. 13).

The WB’s “Dawson’s Creek” topped all competish for the hour in women 18-34 (5.0/14). In all, the weblet says, “Dawson’s” for the first time won in all five of the WB’s key demos: women 18-34, persons 12-34, females 12-34, teens and female teens.

Tuesday

ABC bested Fox in adults 18-49 (6.6/17 to 6.1/16) and CBS in viewers (18.0m to 14.3m), led by the “Dharma & Greg” preem, which improved on its “Millionaire” lead-in by a best-yet 43% in 18-49. That led into a solid bow for “The Geena Davis Show,” whose 7.7/19 matched “Dharma.”

“Gideon’s Crossing” won in adults 18-49 (6.6/18) but lost in viewers to the season preem for CBS’ “Judging Amy” (16.42m), which hit a series high in adults 25-54 (6.6/16).

Fox’s “Dark Angel” won its hour in adults 18-34 (6.4/17), all male adults demos and teens (7.7/24), in which it ranked as the week’s No. 1 show.

“Seven,” which had aired just six weeks earlier on Fox, delivered UPN’s best Tuesday 18-49 rating (1.8/5) since February 1997 and its largest audience (3.80m) since October 1997.

Monday

ABC won Oct. 9 behind “Monday Night Football,” whose Bucs-Vikings contest matched the best 18-49 score of the season (9.7/25). It was also the week’s No. 1 show in men 18-49 (12.7/32), edging “Friends” and “ER.”

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