ABC Scores With ‘Monday Night Football’ Opener

After languishing in third place most of the summer, ABC received a much-needed boost from the season-opening “Monday Night Football” game, which helped kick the network into second last week, based on results issued Wednesday by Nielsen Media Research.

Football ended an eight-week run by “Seinfeld” as the top-rated program. NBC remained first overall, thanks to its Thursday lineup, the Nicolas Cage-Shirley MacLaine movie “Guarding Tess” and big ratings throughout the week for “Dateline NBC.”

The major networks, in fact, televised 16 hours of news in prime time last week, much of it devoted

to the death of Princess Diana. Newsmagazines proved even more dominant in Los Angeles, scoring the week’s four highest local ratings.

ABC also benefited from a double dose of “Home Improvement,” which easily beat both “Frasier” and “Mad About You” last Tuesday. UPN, meanwhile, beamed up more than 10 million viewers for the season premiere of “Star Trek: Voyager,” virtually doubling the audience for any other show on UPN or the WB network last week.

Ratings for some programs fell due to the Billy Graham crusade, with nearly a quarter of CBS affiliates preempting “Promised Land” to run that special.

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: 12.59 million

ABC: 11.50

CBS: 10.06

FOX: 7.58

UPN: 5.74

WB: 3.56


Season to Date

NBC: 13.94 million

CBS: 12.55

ABC: 12.07

FOX: 10.22

UPN: 4.26

WB: 3.48

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. 20/20 KABC 691,942 2. Dateline NBC (Fri., 10 p.m.) KNBC 672,172 3. Dateline NBC (Tue.) KNBC 652,402 4. PrimeTime Live KABC 647,460 5. Seinfeld KNBC 632,632 6. NBC Dateline (Fri.) KNBC 627,690 7. “Guarding Tess” KNBC 622,747 8. 60 Minutes KCBS 617,805 9. Frasier KNBC 593,093 10. The X-Files KTTV 578,265