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Oprah movie boffo for ABC

Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

“Their Eyes Were Watching God,” an Oprah Winfrey telepic production starring Halle Berry, scored huge numbers for ABC on Sunday night, teaming with “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” to give the net an easy ratings victory, according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen.

The 9 to 11 p.m. portion of “Their Eyes,” which ran until 11:30, averaged an 8.7 rating/21 share in adults 18-49 and 25 million viewers overall – the best demo delivery for a scripted movie on any net since part one of “Stephen King’s Rose Red” on ABC in January 2002. And in total viewers, it’s the best showing since Julie Andrews-James Garner romancer “One Special Night” in November 1999.

The Alphabet also dominated from 8 to 9 with “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (7.2/17 in adults 18-49, 17.8 million viewers overall) and also led the night’s opening hour in key demos with “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (3/9 in adults 18-49, 9.6 million viewers overall).

Overall, ABC enjoyed its largest Sunday audience (excluding the Super Bowl and Academy Awards) since February 2001. And the 25 million viewers from 9 to 11 repped its largest aud in the time period (sans football and Oscars) since the heyday of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” in May 2000.

CBS ran second on the night with an original “Cold Case” (3.7/9 in adults 18-49, 15.8 million viewers overall) and special repeats of “CSI: Miami” at 9 (3.7/8 in adults 18-49, 10.4 million viewers overall) and “CSI: NY” (3.7/9 in adults 18-49, 10.4 million viewers overall).

NBC was paced by a repeat of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” at 9 (3.7/8 in adults 18-49, 10.9 million viewers overall), Fox by an original “The Simpsons” at 8 (4.2/11 in adults 18-49, 9.1 million viewers overall).

It was a very weak start, meanwhile, for the WB’s actress-wannabe reality series “The Starlet” (0.7/2 in adults 18-49, 1.6 million viewers overall).

Preliminary adults 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 6.9/17; CBS, 3.4/8; NBC, 3/7; Fox, 2.9/7; WB, 0.7/2.

In total viewers: ABC, 19.3 million; CBS, 12.5 million; NBC, 9.9 million; Fox, 6 million; WB, 1.8 million.

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