Newsmagazines Make a Big Showing

With summer TV doldrums in full swing, newsmagazines accounted for half of the Top 10 in last week’s prime-time ratings, according to results issued Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

NBC ranked first, thanks to repeats of “Seinfeld” and “ER,” as well as its news program “Dateline,” anchored by Stone Phillips and Jane Pauley. Meanwhile, the network continues to use the summer to showcase selected programs. NBC wants more people to try watching “Men Behaving Badly,” for example, so the sitcom was sandwiched between “Friends” and “Seinfeld,” boosting the show to No. 13 in the ratings. “Men” will move to Sundays in the fall.

Overall, viewers are increasingly turning to alternate sources now that the networks are heavily in rerun mode, with ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox accounting for just 49% of last week’s prime-time viewing.

ABC ranked third with another record-low performance, and its thinly veiled infomercial for the Disney movie “Hercules” Friday was seen by 8.7 million people--strong promotion for the film, but still the network’s weakest rating in that time slot in more than a year.



Network Averages

Here is the number of viewers that each network averaged per hour of prime time, for last week and for the season.

Last Week


NBC: 11.02 million

CBS: 9.33

ABC: 8.91

FOX: 6.68

WB: 3.50

UPN: 3.21


Season to Date


NBC: 14.93 million

CBS: 13.38

ABC: 12.95

FOX: 11.09

UPN: 4.35

WB: 3.55


Southland Viewing


Here are Nielsen’s Top 10 prime-time programs in the Los Angeles area during the same week. The rankings are based on the number of households watching.


Program Station Households 1. Seinfeld KNBC 810,560 2. 20/20 KABC 637,575 3. Touched by an Angel KCBS 602.978 4. Home Improvement KABC 598,035 5. 60 Minutes KCBS 593,093 6. Suddenly Susan KNBC 583,208 7. ER KNBC 578,265 8. Dateline: NBC (Mon.) KNBC 543,668 -- Dateline: NBC (Tue.) KNBC 543,668 10. PrimeTime Live KABC 538,726


Source: Nielsen Media Research