Alphabet bests ‘ER’

20/20 wins homes, but drama still leads demos

An ABC News special about the Kennedy years and an especially strong installment of “20/20” gave ABC its best Thursday performance without sports since April 1995 and marked the first time NBC’s “ER” was ever defeated by regular programming on any network.

At 10 p.m., a repeat of “ER” trailed “20/20” by a hair in homes and total viewers. The newsmag, which led with a segment about wives with kids who discover they are lesbians after years of marriage, averaged a 12.6/22 in homes, ahead of “ER’s” 12.4/21.

In total viewers, “20/20” brought in 17.2 million viewers, ahead of “ER’s” 16.8 million. Still, “ER” won the hour handily in the key adults 18-49 demo with an 8.9, compared with “20/20’s” 5.9, which was the highest young adults rating in the timeslot for ABC since “The Shining” in May.

Mag out of the picture

Giving ABC a boost at 10 p.m. was the fact that, for the first time this season, it didn’t face another newsmag on CBS. Instead of “48 Hours,” CBS debuted “Dellaventura” in its new 10 p.m. Thursday timeslot. “Dellaventura” fell below its Tuesday season average, rating a 6.0/10 in homes and a 2.4 in young adults.

Also helping ABC was a strong lead-in from “Dangerous World: The Kennedy Years,” which averaged a 10.0/16 in homes and a 4.6 in young adults from 8-10 p.m. That was ABC’s highest household rating for non-sports programming in the timeslot since Feb. 22, 1996, and the highest young adults rating in the timeslot since May.

From 8-10 p.m., ABC was second to NBC for each half-hour, although the Kennedy special came especially close to the rating for NBC’s “Union Square” at 8:30 p.m. “Union Square” rated a 10.3/16 at 8:30 p.m., while ABC’s news special rated a 10.2/16. In demos, “Union Square” more than held its own in demos.

At 9 p.m., Fox relaunched “413 Hope St.” to disappointing results after a long November sweeps bench ride. Both “413 Hope St.” (3.4/5 in homes and 2.1 in young adults) and Fox’s “Between Brothers” (4.4/7 and 2.7) hit season lows. It was Fox’s worst overall Thursday ever with original programming.

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