‘Seinfeld’ on record roll

Boosts Peacock's comfortable sweeps lead

Momentum is peaking for NBC’s “Seinfeld,” which set a series record rating with its next-to-last episode May 7.

That penultimate “Seinfeld” earned a 24.8 rating, 37 share, inching ahead of the previous-record 24.6/37, established with the fall 1995 season premiere and then tied with the first episode of the current season.

“Seinfeld’s” new record is certain to last just a single week, with this Thursday’s farewell installment expected to nearly dou-ble the May 7 rating.

Last Thursday’s Nielsens also saw the hourlong “Friends” season-closer (21.2/35) earn that series’ fifth-highest rating ever and best since Feb. 8, 1996. “Friends” topped its year-ago finale by 40% in adults 18-49.

For the night, NBC earned a 21.5/35, the highest rating by any net with a night of regular programming since NBC’s pre-miere-week Thursday, when the live episode of “ER” boosted the Peacock to a 23.6/37. NBC’s strongest demo Thursday was women 18-34, where “Friends” marched to a 60 share, “Seinfeld” to a 57 and “ER” to a 53.

At 9:30, “Veronica’s Closet” dropped the bouquet, managing a “mere” 45 share among women 18-34.

NBC’s killer Thursday put the Peacock 5 shares ahead in May sweeps households averages, and 6 shares ahead in adults 18-49, with 13 nights left to count.

Preliminary Nielsen nationals for Friday show CBS’ final run of “The Wizard of Oz” (8.3/15, lowest rated of the film’s 38 net airings) winning the night in virtually every key demo, while ABC edged CBS for the night in homes (8.3/16 to 8.2/15). It was CBS’ top-rated non-sports Friday this season in adults 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54. CBS also nearly tripled its Friday season-average rating for kids 2-11 (7.4 vs. 2.8).

Fox tried to boost its Friday with an “X-Files” rerun (3.6/7, a series record low) and, in preliminary results that may be adjusted by Nielsen, ended up fourth that hour in many key demos including adults 18-34 and 18-49.

In prelim nationals for Saturday, NBC’s combo of “The Pretender” (6.6/14) and a two-hour “Profiler” (6.5/12) dominated in adults 18-49 and 25-54, but CBS, fourth in those demos, moved ahead in homes.

ABC got a boost from “The Best Commercials You’ve Never Seen” (7.3/14), its top-rated Saturday 10-11 p.m. program in 11 weeks.

Each household rating point represents an estimated 980,000 homes, or 1% of the country’s TV homes. 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’s measured against only the homes or viewers watching TV during the timeslot involved.