‘Seinfeld’ puts ‘Dateline’ 1st

Fox reality specials lead evening, 'Home' drops

Interviews of the “Seinfeld” cast have boosted “Dateline NBC” to its highest Tuesday rating in three months, putting NBC narrowly first in May 12 primetime Nielsen results, while Fox’s reality specials led the evening in head-to-head 8-10 p.m. averages.

It was another rough night for “Home Improvement,” which at 8 p.m. stumbled to its second-worst network rating ever. It was also the first time in “Home’s” 410 network airings that the venerable sitcom has finished fourth in its slot. Then the 9 p.m. “Home” (8.4/13) hit that series’ lowest firstrun rating ever.

At 9:30, ABC’s “Something So Right” (6.5/10) didn’t aid its renewal chances, retaining just 74% of its 18-49 lead-in from “Home.”

Those results add impetus to the effort at ABC to find the Tim Allen comedy a better timeslot next fall for what will probably be its final season. Tuesday’s “Frasier” (11.3/18) beat “Home” by 5 shares, the second biggest “Frasier” margin ever over a firstrun “Home.”

The “Seinfeld” episode of “Dateline” earned a 12.7/21, its top numbers since Feb. 3. “Dateline” beat slot rival “NYPD Blue” (10.4/17) by 4 shares in adults 18-49, the biggest “Dateline” 18-49 win ever over a firstrun “Blue.”

Fox still led in homes and the 18-49 demo 8-10 p.m. with “World’s Worst Drivers” (8.6/15 in homes, 5.6/17 in adults 18-49) and “Busted on the Job! 2” (10.4/16 and 7.3/18).

The Tuesday win kept NBC a comfortable 3 shares ahead in homes and 6 shares ahead in adults 18-49 in the May sweeps to date, with 8 nights left to count.

CBS’ “JAG” (9.0/15) led the 8-9 p.m. hour in homes for the sixth time in its last six firstrun airings.

The night’s netlet star was “Dawson’s Creek” (5.2/8), which set WB records for women 18-34 (5.7/14) and women 18-49 (4.2/10), while equaling the third-best homes rating in WB history.

Among the shows hitting their lowest firstrun ratings ever were ABC’s “Soul Man” (6.7/11) and “Something So Right,” NBC’s “Mad About You” (7.7/14) and UPN’s “Malcolm & Eddie” (1.7/3) and “Good News” (1.7/3). “Soul Man,” and “Something So Right” all apparently dipped to the worst firstrun regular-programming ratings in those slots in ABC history. “Mad About You” hit the lowest rating in that slot for regular firstrun NBC fare since Aug. 30, 1994 (“TV Nation”).

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.

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