Fox’s “X-Files” spinoff “The Lone Gunmen” hit its target audience Sunday, while ABC again struck ratings gold with the latest “Oprah Winfrey Presents” telepic on a lazy March evening that seemed more like a sweeps night.
Fox got encouraging numbers for the first episode of Chris Carter’s “Lone Gunmen,” which won its hour in key demos and placed second in total viewers to ABC’s Elisabeth Shue starrer “Amy & Isabelle,” which has become the most-watched single-part made-for of the season. Against the tough competition, NBC didn’t stumble too badly with its oft-delayed Kennedy women miniseries, and CBS got decent demos with theatrical repeat “Eraser.”
And everybody had to answer to HBO’s “The Sopranos,” whose third season began Sunday at 9 with a two-hour premiere. Ratings for the Mob drama will be issued today.
According to prelim nationals from Nielsen, Fox won Sunday in adults 18-49 (6.5/15) and adults 18-34 (7.5/19), winning each of its half-hours by both measures. “The Simpsons” ranked as the night’s top-rated program in adults 18-49 (prelim 8.8/21)
The victory on Sunday would be Fox’s fifth nightly win for the week (following those on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday) and appears to be enough to edge the net past NBC for the week. Nielsen will issue final numbers today, but Fox is projected to finish the week of Feb. 26-March 4 with a 5.0 rating in 18-49, followed by NBC’s 4.8, a 4.3 for ABC and a 4.2 for CBS.
ABC, which won Sunday by more than 4 million viewers overall, likely will edge out CBS for the week in total viewers.
“Lone Gunmen” won its 9 p.m. hour in adults 18-49 (prelim 6.5/14), adults 18-34 (6.8/16) and all male demos while placing second in total viewers (13 million). It dipped slightly in its second half-hour, but held up well considering the tough competition.
Its 18-49 rating is well below what “The X-Files” averaged in February with David Duchovny-juiced episodes (8.4/18), but about on par with recent “X-Files” episodes that haven’t featured the series co-star.
“Lone Gunmen,” from 20th Century Fox TV, will air two more weeks on Sunday and premiere in its Friday 9 p.m. slot on March 16.
ABC’s “Amy & Isabelle” was the No. 1 program of the night in total viewers (prelim 19.4 million) and is the most-watched single-part made-for since CBS’ “Beyond the Prairie” on Jan. 2, 2000. (Last week’s opener of ABC’s two-night Judy Garland mini drew 20.3 million viewers.)
“Amy” also did well in demos, easily winning its two-hour block in 18-49 (prelim 6.5/14) and 18-34 (6.1/15). The 18-49 score is the best for any single-part telepic since ABC’s “Three Stooges” last April 24.
Last season’s “Oprah Winfrey Presents” pic, “Tuesdays With Morrie,” ranked in the top three for the season in both total viewers (22.5 million) and adults 18-49 (7.6/17).
‘Women’ not bad
NBC’s mini “The Women of Camelot” — at one time penciled in for either the November or February sweeps this season — averaged 10.8 million viewers and a 3.6/8 in 18-49, according to prelims. While not great numbers, the demo score is 20% better than what CBS got for part one of its “Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis” last November.
CBS, with nowhere to go Sunday opposite the big-guns programming, finished second from 9-11 with a repeat of “Eraser” (prelim 11.8 million, 4.3/9 in A18-49).