Viewers flocked to ABC on Thursday night to attend Rosie O’Donnell’s coming-out party.
That’s no small feat: The Alphabet net hasn’t had many Thursday night visitors this season, and even slips to fifth place (behind UPN) on some weeks.
But the two-hour “Primetime Thursday” interview with O’Donnell, who confirmed that she’s gay, helped ABC garner its highest-rated Thursday night performance with regular programming this season.
“Primetime,” which ran from 9-11 p.m., attracted 14.4 million viewers and a 5.1 rating/13 share among adults 18-49 — the shows’s best rating in the demo since August, when Connie Chung interviewed Rep. Gary Condit, and its best total viewers tally since October.
Newsmag, hosted by Diane Sawyer, won its two-hour block among total viewers opposite repeats of “Will & Grace” (13.3 million), “Just Shoot Me” (11.7 million) and “ER” (13.7 million). NBC still won the two-hour block in adults 18-49.
Overall, ABC finished the night in second place in total viewers (12 million) — its best showing on the night since the Jan. 3 Rose Bowl. But the net still wound up in third place for the night in adults 18-49 (4.3/11).
With “Survivor” (which aired on Wednesday) and “CSI” on spring break due to CBS’ coverage of the NCAA basketball playoffs, NBC dominated the night, scoring a 7.0/18 rating in adults 18-49 and 14.6 million viewers. CBS’ NCAA coverage narrowly took second for the night in adults 18-49 (4.4/12) and landed third with viewers (10.5 million).
CBS’ primetime NCAA games were up 13% vs. last year (9.1 million) with viewers.
The premiere of the WB’s “My Guide to Being a Rock Star,” meanwhile, was DOA. Hourlong debut pulled just 1.6 million viewers and a 0.6/2 rating in adults 18-49. “Rock Star” was down 62% from the time period’s perf a year ago, when the white-hot “Gilmore Girls” aired there.
Meanwhile, NBC’s Saturday night telepic “The Matthew Shepard Story” pulled a paltry 2.2 rating/7 share among adults 18-49, according to prelim national numbers. That landed the made-for in fourth place, behind James Bond pic “The Man with the Golden Gun” on ABC, NCAA basketball/”The District” on CBS and “America’s Most Wanted” on Fox.
While “The Matthew Shepard Story” attracted a total aud of only 7 million, that’s still up from last year, when the Peacock was floundering with XFL football (2.2 million).
According to preliminary numbers, Fox won Saturday night in adults 18-49 (3.1/10), followed by CBS (3.0/9), ABC (2.3/7) and NBC (2.1/7). NBC took Friday night in the demo (4.0/13), followed by CBS (3.1/10), ABC (2.9/9) and Fox (2.4/8). Final numbers will be available this morning.