Wednesday winners

Midweek auds smile on 'Angels,' 'Twenty One'

CBS’ “City of Angels” and NBC’s “Twenty One” have been dealt winning Nielsens in their first tries as Wednesday 8-9 p.m. regulars.

“Twenty One” was the splashier success, counting up NBC’s biggest regular-fare 18-49 audience in that hour in more than 10 months.

“Angels,” trying to prove that a largely non-white cast can make it on a Big Four network, settled for more subtle progress, staying fourth in the hour in adults 25-54, but improving by 16% on what CBS sitcoms have averaged this season as regulars in the slot (with a 3.6 rating, 9 share vs. a 3.1/8).

More eyes on Eye

“Angels’ ” modest progress, teamed with the strong movie “Murder in the Mirror” (14.63 million viewers, 3.4 rating, 9 share in adults 18-49) helped CBS win the night in total viewers, the first time the Eye has prevailed on an in-season Wednesday with regular fare since Christmas night 1996 (with “The Nanny,” “Pearl” and “The Christmas Box”).

Despite those NBC and CBS strides, ABC still looks to be the net to beat on Wednesdays in adults 18-49. Despite airing reruns 9-10 p.m., the Alphabet led Jan. 19 results by a comfortable 4 shares in the 18-49 demo with its highest regular-fare Wednesday average since last March.

The night gets a lot tougher, though, when NBC airs firstrun segs of “West Wing” and “Law & Order” next week.

Number’s game

The first Wednesday try for “Twenty One” averaged 15.39 million viewers, making it the night’s most-watched telecast. Its 4.8/13 in adults 18-49 was a strong second for the hour and NBC’s strongest showing in the slot (excepting the World Series) since a March 3, 1999, “Dateline.”

“City of Angels” (9.24 million, 2.8/8 in adults 18-49) improved on CBS’ comedy results in that slot, especially among female viewers. Among women 25-54, “Angels” winged 26% above the Eye’s regular-fare season average (4.9/11 vs. 3.9/10).

In earlier Sunday telecasts, “Twenty One” and “Angels” had disappointed vs. slot expectations, but both may have found homes on the less competitive Wednesday schedule.

ABC’s Wednesday was boosted by the top 18-49 rating for a rerun “Spin City” (12.79 million, 6.5/16 in adults 18-49) since Sept. 2, 1997, and the strongest Wednesday “20/20” (13.47 million, 6.3/17 in adults 18-49) since April 21 coverage of the Columbine High shootings.

Each adults 18-49 rating point reps 1.24 million viewers, 1% of the U.S. total. The share is also a percentage, but measured against only viewers watching TV during the slot involved.