Awesome ‘Dawson’ leaps Frog records

'Bernie,' ''70s' also hit ratings benchmarks

HOLLYWOOD — “Dawson’s Creek” dried up Wednesday, but not before its two-hour finale shattered some ratings records for the WB.

The skein, whose six-season run helped to define the Frog network in the late ’90s, was a big hit with young women despite airing opposite Fox’s “American Idol,” which appeals to a similar audience and hit a nearly four-month ratings high Wednesday.

Fox dominated its two hours on the evening, which also included record ratings for laffers “Bernie Mac” and “That ’70s Show.” Through three weeks, the Murdoch net held a slim advantage over NBC for the May sweep’s lead in the key demo of adults 18-49 (4.4/13 vs. 4.3/12), according to Nielsen.

CBS led the month in total viewers, Fox in adults 18-34 and NBC in adults 25-54. Fox and the WB are the only nets up across the board.

Williamson dips toe in ‘Creek’

For “Dawson’s Creek,” series creator Kevin Williamson returned and penned the finale, which took place five years in the future. Episode included the death of original character Jen (Michelle Williams) and saw Joey (Katie Holmes) surprisingly choose Pacey (Joshua Jackson) over soulmate Dawson (James Van Der Beek).

Show (7.30 million viewers overall) established a Frog program record in both adults 18-34 (6.6/18) and women 18-34 (9.9/21) — more than double its season average and nearly three full ratings points above the previous high set by “7th Heaven” in 1999.

For its two-hour block, the WB was second to Fox in both adults 18-34 and 18-49 (4.2/11) with its best-ever numbers for a Wednesday. At 9:30, “Dawson” edged out Fox’s “Bernie Mac” to win its final half-hour in 18-34 (7.3/18 vs. 7.1/18).

One week from its finale, Fox’s “American Idol” (11.4/28 in A18-49, 25.35m) grabbed its best scores since late January. From 8:30 to 9:30, “Idol” and “Dawson” combined for 53% of the women 18-34 watching television.

‘Bernie’ hits new heights

“Bernie Mac” led its slot in both 18-49 (7.6/17) and viewers (15.84m) — series records. “That ’70s Show” kicked off the evening by winning its slot (6.8/20 in A18-49, 13.57m), hitting a 20 share for the first time.

NBC’s “Law & Order” (6.6/17 in A18-49, 18.33m) easily led the 10 o’clock hour, while the season finale of net’s “The West Wing” (4.7/11, 13.79m) tied with ABC’s “The Bachelor” spec in 18-49 at 9.

ABC tied for third, led by “The Bachelor: Women Tell All” and “Extreme Makeover” (4.4/11).

At CBS, “Star Search” picked it up a notch with its finale at 8, but settled for fifth place in 18-49 (3.0/8) and second in total viewers (10.38m).

Adults 18-49 averages through Wednesday: Fox, 4.4/13 (up 22% vs. a year ago); NBC, 4.3/12 (down 19%); CBS, 3.7/10 (down 3%); ABC, 3.2/9 (down 6%); the WB, 2.0/6 (up 11%); and UPN, 1.5/4 (down 17%).

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