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NBC plays Games for sweep lead

Peacock wins eight consecutive nights in adults 18-49 for Feb. 4-10

Four nights of the Olympics have compensated for one big Super Bowl night, propelling NBC ahead of Fox as the February sweep nears the halfway point.

According to Nielsen, the Peacock leads the four-week ratings period in adults 18-49 (8.1/20) and total viewers (20.7 million) after another easy victory Monday of this week. Fox, which bolted out to a big lead after airing the Super Bowl, remains the leader in adults 18-34 and male demos.

NBC now has won eight consecutive nights in adults 18-49, as the net placed first on every night of primetime during the Feb. 4-10 frame (Daily Variety, Feb. 12).

Overall, the Peacock claimed the week’s top seven programs in total viewers, led by Friday’s Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics, which averaged 45.56 million viewers. In adults 18-49, the net delivered 11 of the week’s top 13, led by Friday’s Olympics (15.4/41) and a Thursday repeat of “Friends” (14.6/35), which logged the highest demo score for the rebroadcast of any program in nearly four years.

NBC also saw series-record numbers for Matt Damon’s guest appearance on Thursday’s “Will & Grace” (25.30m, 13.6/31 in A18-49); a dominant perf for “Frasier” as Niles proposed to Daphne (18.99m, 8.3/20); and another strong showing for the net’s improved Monday lineup, which features “Fear Factor,” “Third Watch” and “Crossing Jordan.”

The other networks had to fight for scraps, with Fox finishing second in 18-49 and 18-34, led by comedies “The Simpsons,” “Malcolm in the Middle,” “That ’70s Show” and “Bernie Mac.”

CBS was runner-up in adults 25-54 and total viewers, with “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (24.64 million, 9.0/20) and “Everybody Loves Raymond” (20.94m, 7.7/17) ranking in the top 12 in viewers and 18-49.

ABC finished fourth in adults 18-49 (a tick behind CBS) despite the strongest numbers to date for laffer “My Wife and Kids” (14.43m, 5.8/15 for a one-hour episode). Net, though, had only one other program in the week’s top 30, “NYPD Blue” (12.69m, 5.0/11).

The WB edged past UPN in adults 18-34 and persons 12-34, while the latter remained on top in the broader 18-49 and total viewers. Frog’s “7th Heaven” (8.43m, 3.3/8) was easily the top show of the week on the weblets.

Monday

With figure skating more in the spotlight, the Olympics on NBC topped its ABC-CBS-Fox combined competish by 2 shares in 18-49 and by 6 million viewers overall. The overall primetime aud for the Games (31.52m) was up 34% vs. the same night in 1998.

Fox, second in 18-49, did OK with a new “Boston Public” (10.20m, 4.4/11 in A18-49), but the more femme-skewing “Ally McBeal” (8.08m, 3.9/9) had a harder time opposite the Games.

Elsewhere, CBS was runner-up on the night in adults 25-54, while the WB’s “7th Heaven” enjoyed success opposite the Olympics, topping it in female teens (7.4/20 vs. 4.4/12).

Sunday

NBC won easily, but ABC and Fox both enjoyed some success (Daily Variety, Feb. 12).

Saturday

NBC dominated by most measures, easily outdrawing its combined ABC-CBS-Fox competish in total viewers (29.4m to 20.6m). It also won by 18 shares in adults 18-49, but its primetime score (9.8/27) was merely the second best on a Saturday this season — trailing the 10.9/28 that CBS did with an NFL playoff game Jan. 19.

Fox ran second in 18-49, with “America’s Most Wanted” (3.2/8) besting its “Cops” lead-in (2.9/8) for one of the few times this season.

TNT did well with its “NBA All-Star Saturday” (5.24m, 2.3/7). In males 12-34, the basketball spec (4.4/15) placed a fairly close second to the Olympics (5.5/19).

Friday

NBC delivered a larger primetime aud on a Friday (45.7 million) than any net since CBS during the Lillehammer Winter Olympics in February 1994.

A repeat of “JAG” at 8 was the top non-Olympics draw in viewers (7.82m), while ABC’s “America’s Funniest Home Videos” grabbed the best 18-49 score (2.5/7).

Thursday

The six broadcasters combined for a 68 share in 18-49 (led by NBC’s 33) and a 71 in adults 18-34 (led by NBC’s 36), rendering cable limp on the night. In fact, no cable program garnered higher than a 2 share in adults 18-49.

“Friends” (28.64m, 14.5/37 in 18-49) topped its combined competish on the other five broadcasters in adults 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54, while “Will & Grace” hit series highs and “ER” (27.35m, 14.0/35) again dominated at 10.

CBS was a solid second across the board, while Fox fizzled with the penultimate episode of “Temptation Island 2” (5.14m, 2.6/6).

Wednesday

“My Wife and Kids” lifted ABC to its strongest Wednesday since November in adults 18-49 (4.4/11), as the net edged past Fox to place second to NBC (6.3/16). The Peacock’s “The West Wing” (7.4/18) and “Law & Order” (7.7/20) easily led their hours.

UPN’s “Enterprise” ran second for its hour in men 18-49 (3.9/11, tied with Fox) and men 25-54 (4.4/11).

Tuesday

“Frasier” posted the night’s strongest scores, leading NBC to a narrow victory in 18-49 over Fox, whose “24” attracted its largest aud since its premiere (9.25m). ABC’s “NYPD Blue” was the night’s top drama in 18-49 (5.0/11), with CBS’ “JAG” the most watched overall (16.42m).

ABC’s “Philly” also had a strong night, delivering the same 18-49 share as “Judging Amy” (11) and winning its hour in men 18-49 (4.0/11) with its highest rating since its series premiere.

Monday

NBC and Fox tied for the 18-49 lead on Feb. 4, as both nets’ 9 o’clock programs — “Third Watch” (5.1/11) and “Ally McBeal” (5.7/13) — hit season highs.

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