Generational drift

'That '70s' drops slightly but retains solid rates

Rookie sitcom “That ’70s Show” has cooled a bit in its second try, but continues to energize Fox’s Sunday lineup.

According to preliminary Nielsens for Aug. 30, “That ’70s” averaged a 6.7 rating, 11 share in households, and a 5.9/17 in adults 18-49, both ratings improvements over its lead-in from a rerun “The Simpsons” (6.3/12 in homes, 5.5/17 in adults 18-49). “That ’70s” was up 7% in adults 18-49 over its lead-in, down compared with a 16% gain for its week-earlier premiere, but still better than virtually any post-“Simpsons” series to date except “King of the Hill” (which has been switched to Tuesdays).

Interest in the firstrun “That ’70s” appears to be invigorating “The Simpsons,” which Sunday earned its best 18-49 rating with a repeat episode since last March 15.

Fox’s 7:30 rookie “Holding the Baby” (3.7/7 in homes, 2.8/10 in adults 18-49) took its first steps toward respectability after a difficult delivery the previous week. “Baby” improved by 12% on its 18-49 lead-in and stayed second in that demo for the half-hour.

Fox earned the night’s highest 7-10 p.m. 18-49 numbers (4.2/13), but “Under Siege 2” (9.8/17 in homes, 6.6/18 in adults 18-49) led NBC to higher 7-11 p.m. figures. CBS took the night by 3 shares in homes.

‘Beach’ washout

These preliminary results will be updated by Nielsen Tuesday and some adjustments are expected. Friday results show NBC’s primetime “Sunset Beach” getting washed away, with a mere 2.4/5 in homes, lowest-ever for NBC in that slot and possibly the second-lowest-rated nonpolitical primetime broadcast in NBC history.

Each household rating point represents an estimated 980,000 homes, or 1% of the country’s TV households. Each adults 18-49 rating point reps 1.23 million viewers, 1% of the U.S. total. A share is the same sort of percentage, except it measures only the homes or viewers watching TV during the timeslot involved.

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