‘Ponderosa’ gives Pax rate bonanza

Cabler wins first big Sunday

HOLLYWOOD — The two-hour premiere of “The Ponderosa” combined with the second-season preem of “Doc” to give Pax the highest-rated Sunday in its three-plus years on the air.

According to Nielsen metered-market overnights that represent 40% of the country, Pax scored a 2.2 household rating, a 57% improvement vs. its opening Sunday of a year ago. That still left the fledgling net behind the lowest-rated broadcaster (the WB’s 2.4 overnight rating for its all-repeat lineup), but Pax did top the Frog in 19 of the 40 markets where they faced each other.

“Ponderosa,” a prequel to classic Western series “Bonanza” starring Daniel Hugh Kelly as patriarch Ben Cartwright, averaged a 2.8 rating/4 share in the overnights, corraling its best scores in New Orleans (5.8) and San Antonio (5.6). That was preceded by Billy Ray Cyrus series “Doc,” whose 1.9/3 overnight rating was the second best since its preem last March.

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