‘Mad’ baby slays the Conners

For once, birth drew a bigger TV audience than death Tuesday night as the season-ending edition of NBC’s “Mad About You,” featuring the much-hyped birth of the Buchman baby, easily knocked off the series finale of ABC’s “Roseanne” in the Nielsen national ratings.

The rare battle of hourlong sitcom episodes found “Mad About You” pulling in a formidable 17.6 rating/29 share average in the total household count — easily its highest of the season — while “Roseanne” was left with an 11.6/19.

“Mad About You” fared even better in the 37 metered markets, where it snared a whopping 20.2/30. That was NBC’s highest Tuesday overnight figure in the 8 o’clock hour with series programs in more than a dozen years, or since a March 12, 1985, edition of “The A-Team.” NBC’s national ratings average for the night represented its best Tuesday-night household showing with series programming in more than two years.

The “Roseanne” numbers were also well above the show’s 1996-97 season average. And the four-network numbers for the 8 o’clock hour gave the broadcast webs a collective 71% share of the audience, the highest in recent memory.

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