'Gilmore' bolsters Frog, witches smack down WWF

HOLLYWOOD — The WB continued its strong opening week Thursday as the series preem of “Gilmore Girls” and season bow of “Charmed” posted the netlet’s best-ever numbers on the night in virtually every key demo.

“Gilmore,” a Warner Bros. series that is also the first show to make it to air from the Family Friendly Script Development Fund, set network records in its 8 o’clock hour in women 18-34 (2.9/9), women 18-49 (2.7/8) and households (3.5/6).

That led into a bewitching perf for third-year drama “Charmed,” which topped its previous highs for the night in adults 18-34 (4.1/12) and adults 18-49 (3.7/10) while logging the WB’s best homes score ever in the Thursday 9 p.m. hour (5.2/8).

WWF smacked down

In the 9:30 half-hour, “Charmed” topped UPN’s “WWF Smackdown” in adults 18-49 (4.1/10 vs. 3.6/9) and homes (5.5/9 vs. 5.4/8).

While the numbers are likely inflated due to the atypical competition of the vice presidential debate and a baseball game, the netlet points out that it performed considerably better this time around than on a comparable night — that of the State of the Union Address — in January.

Overall, the WB set Thursday records in adults 18-34 (3.1/9) and adults 18-49 (2.8/8), among others.

Best ever

According to the weblet, its adults 18-34 rating of 2.9/8 through the first four nights of the week is its best ever.

Mets-Giants baseball playoff game on Fox scored a weak 5.0/9 in homes and a 2.6/8 in adults 18-49, while UPN’s “Smackdown” hit a new high in adults 25-54 (3.0/7).

The Dick Cheney/Joe Lieberman vice presidential debate, which ran from 9-10:30 p.m. ET and does not count in Nielsen’s totals for the night, attracted 28.5 million viewers — a 7% increase over the 1996 debate between Al Gore and Bob Kemp (26.6). This figure, as expected, falls well short of the 46.6 million for Tuesday’s presidential debate.

ABC leads way

According to internal calculations by the nets, ABC led the way with 10.22 million viewers, followed by NBC (8.92m) and CBS (5.46m). CNN topped the cablers (2.09m), followed by Fox News Channel (1.41m) and MSNBC (451,000).

For the rated portion of the night, ABC led the way in viewers (15.99m), while NBC was an easy winner in adults 18-49 (6.3/18), thanks to a dominant showing by a repeat of last season’s “Friends” one-hour finale (7.8/23).

NBC will fire off the season premieres of its big Thursday guns next week.

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