‘Kids’ does darn well in ratings

CBS has generated more sensational ratings with the second hourlong “Kids Say the Darndest Things,” suggesting the Eye can significantly bolster its Friday fortunes later this season with its planned half-hour “Darndest” series.

According to preliminary national Nielsens for last Friday, the Bill Cosby-hosted “Darndest” special earned a slot-dominating 13.4 rating, 23 share in homes and a 6.5/18 in adults 25-54, winning the hour by 9 shares in homes and 7 in adults 25-54. It was CBS’ best 25-54 rating that hour since at least the summer of ’96.

Those figures topped even what the first “Darndest” spec earned last May 16 (11.1/22 in homes and 5.5/19 in adults 25-54), and boosted CBS to its highest Friday homes rating this season.

That surge helped CBS’ “Family Matters” (8.2/14 in homes, 4.9/13 in adults 25-54) pass ABC’s “Boy Meets World” (7.7/13 and 3.7/10) at 9 p.m., but at 9:30, “Gregory Hines” (6.2/10 and 3.4/9) fell well behind a second “Boy Meets World” (8.1/14 and 4.1/11). The struggling “Hines” lost a hefty 31% of its 25-54 lead-in from “Matters.”

In the 10-11 p.m. hour, a crossover with “Law & Order” brought immediate resuscitation to NBC’s gasping “Homicide” (10.3/18 in homes, 6.1/18 in adults 18-49). With its best homes rating since Feb. 9, 1996, “Homicide” locked up second that hour, well ahead of CBS’ “Nash Bridges” (7.8/14 in homes, 4.1/12 in adults 18-49). “20/20” (13.9/24 and 6.7/19) won the hour and the night for ABC.

Preliminary nationals for Saturday show Fox leading 8-10 p.m. in adults 18-49 with a 4.5 rating. CBS’ 8-11 p.m. results equaled Fox in that demo and easily won the night in homes with a 9.6/17. Late schedule changes failed to elevate NBC (6.9/12 in homes, 4.4 in adults 18-49) and ABC (5.6/10 and 3.3) out of third and fourth, respectively, for the night.

NBC dominated final nationals for Thursday, though “Union Square” (14.2/22 in homes) and “Veronica’s Closet” (18.1/27) both slipped to the lowest retentions yet of their 18-49 lead-ins, 78% and 80%, respectively. It was NBC’s top-rated Thursday since premiere week.

Fox was an easy second in Thursday’s 18-49 race, as a rerun of the Nov. 4 “Scariest Police Chases” spec (8.3/12) drove off with Fox’s best Thursday 9-10 p.m. 18-49 rating since the ’96 World Series.

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