‘Frasier’ wins final face-off

'Dawson' does well while 'Mad' drops

The final firstrun showdown between “Frasier” and “Home Improvement” has gone to “Frasier,” but ABC’s Tim Allen sitcom pulled out of its recent slump to nail down its highest rating in two months.

Also scoring big in Tuesday Nielsens was WB’s season finale of “Dawson’s Creek” (5.6 rating, 9 share), which surged to the third-highest rating in WB history.

At 9 p.m., “Frasier” scored a 12.6 rating, 20 share to top “Home’s” 11.5/18, but it was the closest finish between the rivals in four weeks and “Home’s” highest rating since March 17. By next fall, both hit comedies will be gone from the slot, “Frasier” to take over “Seinfeld’s” pivotal slot Thursday on NBC and “Home” to lead off ABC’s Tuesday lineup at 8 p.m.

“Frasier” added a second firstrun episode at 9:30 and climbed to a 14.7/23, the best Tuesday numbers for that Kelsey Grammer sitcom since premiere week.

ABC attempted to launch the 90-minute season wrap-up of “NYPD Blue” (10.6/17) vs. that second “Frasier” and got gunned down, falling 17% below last year’s “NYPD” finale. Counting just the 10-11 p.m. segment, “NYPD” dropped 11% vs. year-ago numbers.

NBC went on to win the night over ABC by 4 shares in both adults 18-49 and households.

In the 8-9 p.m. hour, a double dose of “Mad About You” scored 8.9/16 and 10.4/18. With no big event to wrap the season, “Mad” plunged 41% below last year’s baby-boosted finale, and 31% below the near-breakup stunt two years ago.