Sex sells for ’60’

Newsmag's ratings leap thanks to Willey

Ed Bradley’s interview of former White House aide Kathleen Willey has propelled “60 Minutes” to what will probably be its highest rating in three years.

Metered market results released Monday by Nielsen show the newscast garnering roughly a 19.2 rating, 29 share, “Minutes'” highest overnights since Nov. 13, 1994. Those figures, though, are somewhat inexact, since a basketball overrun delayed the “Minutes” telecast by 20 minutes in the Eastern and Central time zones. The 19.2 rating is 25% above “Minutes'” season-to-date overnight average of a 15.4.

If the final national number, to be released today, is higher than a 17.1, it’ll be the top “60 Minutes” rating since March 1995. So far this season, “Minutes” has averaged a 13.4/22 nationally.

Sunday’s schedule also included the first episode of the Patrick Stewart-starring USA Network two-parter “Moby Dick.” Nielsens for “Moby” weren’t available at presstime yesterday, but a USA spokeswoman said that nationals due out today are expected to make it one of the highest-rated made-for-basic-cable films ever.

On “60 Minutes” Sunday, Willey accused President Clinton of an unwanted sexual advance and of lying about the encounter. Willey has testified before the grand jury investigating Clinton’s relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky and the “Minutes” interview was Willey’s first detailed public account of her accusations against the president.

With the “60 Minutes” boost, CBS won the Sunday in preliminary nationals by roughly 11 shares in homes and 2 shares in adults 18-49, but significant adjustments are expected in the final nationals.

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