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‘Bachelor’ throws baseball a sinker

Game 4 drops 24% in overall auds vs. last year

HOLLYWOOD — More young adults were interested in watching America’s hottest dating game than one of its biggest baseball games on Wednesday, as ABC’s “The Bachelor” soared to season highs opposite the World Series on Fox.

According to Nielsen, the fourth episode of “The Bachelor” was the clear choice over the Fall Classic in the 9 o’clock hour among adults 18-49 (7.0/17 to 5.5/14) and adults 18-34 (7.6/21 to 4.1/12). Older-skewing baseball moved ahead in total viewers (17.5 million to 14.9 million).

“The Bachelor,” helped somewhat by NBC airing a repeat of “West Wing,” was up 19% week-to-week in 18-49, and delivered the best series score for ABC in the hour since February 2001.

The World Series, meanwhile, continues to sputter relative to past Series, but was gaining some ratings momentum heading into the weekend. The best-of-seven series will be decided either Saturday or Sunday in Anaheim.

Wednesday’s victory by the San Francisco Giants averaged 18.08 million viewers and a 6.0/16 in adults 18-49 — a drop in overall audience of 24% vs. last year (23.69 million) but an improvement of 3% over 2000 (17.61 million). It also drew about 1 million more viewers than Tuesday’s game.

Fox wins night easily

Fox easily won the night in total viewers, adults 18-49, adults 25-54 and all male demos.

Through four games of the World Series, Fox was averaging 17.49 million viewers, a 21% decline vs. last year and a 2% dropoff from 2000. With a competitive series now, Fox has a good shot at avoiding the all-time low average for a Series, set two years ago.

For ABC, “The Bachelor” has helped energize its Wednesday night, as the net is enjoying its strongest Wednesday start to a season in adults 18-34 in three years. ABC is now a solid 10 o’clock drama away of perhaps challenging NBC for the night’s 18-49 lead on a regular basis.

The Alphabet net also received strong showings from “My Wife and Kids” (13.89 million viewers, 5.6/16 in A18-49) and “George Lopez” (12.24m, 5.1/13), both of which led all entertainment programs in their timeslots.

Struggling 10 p.m. drama “MDs” (6.16m, 2.9/8 in A18-49) again failed to capitalize on its lead-in, finishing 7 shares behind a “Law & Order” repeat (5.7/15 in 18-49).

‘Birds’ dives

Opposite “The Bachelor’s” surge, both the WB’s “Birds of Prey” (4.54m, 2.1/5 in A18-49) and CBS’ “Amazing Race” (8.05m, 3.3/8) saw sharp week-to-week dropoffs.

“Birds” retained just 74% of its “Dawson’s Creek” 18-34 lead-in (2.3/6 vs. 3.1/9), down from the 97% hold the week before. UPN’s “Twilight Zone,” up week-to-week to a 1.5/4, pulled to within 2 shares of “Birds” one week after lagging by 6 shares.

NBC did well with an 8 o’clock spec called “Extreme Variety” (3.2/8 in A18-49), which was off just 6% from an original “Ed” a week earlier. Don’t be surprised to see more of these specs — with “Ed’s” Tom Cavanagh as host — in place of poorly repeating “Ed” repeats.

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