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NBC slips on ‘Frasier’ fade

Peacock leading sweeps flock

NBC’s dominant Thursday lineup continues to perform sluggishly in the May sweeps, keeping the competition’s faint hopes alive that the Peacock web can still be beaten for the month.

In May 6 results, NBC faded, for a second straight week, to its weakest Thursday households rating with regular firstrun fare since May 12, 1994. The biggest setback came with ”Frasier” (13.8 rating, 22 share in homes, 10.1/28 in adults 18-49), which tripped to the Peacock’s lowest homes score in that Thursday 9-9:30 slot for regular firstrun fare in nearly 15 years. At 8:30, ”Will & Grace” (12.0/20 in homes, 9.1/27 in adults 18-49) retained a lowest-yet 81% of its 18-49 lead-in from ”Friends” (14.3/25 in homes, 11.2/36 in adults 18-49).

The Thursday competition, though, generally failed to capitalize on NBC’s fade. A third network run of Adam Sandler’s ”Billy Madison” (5.9/10 in homes, 3.6/10 in adults 18-49) stumbled to Fox’s lowest sweeps Thursday 18-49 average since the night of the ”Seinfeld” finale nearly a year ago.

At CBS, ”Promised Land” (6.9/12 in homes, 2.3/7 in adults 18-49) skidded to its lowest firstrun homes rating ever.

Despite a mediocre Thursday, NBC nearly tripled its closest competitor in nightlong 18-49 results. The Peacock averaged an 11.4 rating vs. ABC’s second-place 3.9 average. The Alphabet improved to its best Thursday 18-49 numbers in nine weeks with the broadcast debut of ”A Time to Kill” (7.4/12 in homes, 3.9/11 in adults 18-49).

The last time a firstrun NBC regular series scored a lower homes rating in the Thursday 9-9:30 slot than ”Frasier’s” 13.8 was May 10, 1984.

That was the night of the last firstrun ”Cheers” to air before NBC took over Thursday with that fall’s debut of ”The Cosby Show.”

NBC remains far out front in the May sweeps, having won both Friday and Saturday in adults 18-49, according to Nielsen preliminary nationals for those nights. It was NBC’s seventh Friday 18-49 win in a row but first on a Saturday since Thanksgiving weekend (with ”It Takes Two”). CBS led Saturday prelims in homes.

Through 10 nights of the four-week May sweeps, estimated 18-49 averages (including two nights of prelim data) are: NBC, a 6.6 rating (down 18% vs. results for the same nights last year); ABC, 4.1 (down 5%) tied with Fox, 4.1 (down 15%); CBS, 3.5 (even).

In homes, it’s: NBC, a 10.5 rating (down 11%); CBS, 8.3 (down 3%); ABC, 7.1 (down 5%); Fox, 5.9 (down 14%).

With Fox stumbling this month, NBC now seems virtually assured of a sweeps win in adults 18-49, but CBS remains a threat to challenge in households. Results for NBC’s two-part ”Hunt for the Unicorn Killer” will play a big role in determining how close that homes race will be. Nielsen is scheduled to issue the first ”Unicorn” prelim results today.Each household rating point represents an estimated 994,000 homes, or 1% of the country’s TV households. Each adults 18-49 rating point reps 1.239 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.