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Oscars’ Titanic-Size Ratings Steer ABC to Win

A “Titanic” rating for the Academy Awards helped ABC sail to its first weekly ratings win since December, based on figures issued Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

The Oscars, hosted by Billy Crystal, doubled the audience for last week’s top series, while CBS received a boost from NCAA basketball Final Four coverage and the highest-rated “Touched by an Angel” since January--a combination that left usual prime-time leader NBC in third place.

ABC’s “Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place” exhibited the most promise among midseason series, last Wednesday retaining more than nine in 10 viewers from its lead-in, “The Drew Carey Show.”

Ratings were more marginal for several other new comedies, including Fox’s “Damon” and NBC’s “Lateline,” “For Your Love” and “House Rules.” Fox also pulled the new drama “Significant Others” after the show lost more than half of “Beverly Hills, 90210’s” audience.

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Of programs CBS introduced following the Olympics, the only one clicking so far is “Candid Camera.” Scheduled with another revival, “Kids Say the Darndest Things,” the show won its time slot Friday, developing CBS’ best rating that night with a regular series in more than two years.

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Cable’s Top 10

Here are Nielsen’s top 10 cable programs in prime time last week, also ranked by total viewers in the millions.

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Program Network Viewers 1. WC Wrestling (Mon., 8 p.m.) TNT 5.47 2. WC Wrestling (Mon., 9 p.m.) TNT 5.25 3. Thunder Wrest. (Thur., 9 p.m.) TBS 4.84 4. WC Wrestling (Mon. 10 p.m.) TNT 4.66 5. South Park ComC 4.44 6. Substitute 2: Schools Out HBO 4.41 7. Wrestling (Thur., 8:05 p.m.) TBS 4.20 8. World Championship Boxing HBO 4.16 9. NCAA Women’s Basketball ESPN 3.94 10. Rugrats Nick 3.62

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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

ABC: 15.63 million

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CBS: 13.92

NBC: 11.90

FOX: 8.25

WB: 3.85

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UPN: 3.12

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Season to Date

NBC: 14.99 million

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CBS: 14.47

ABC: 12.63

FOX: 10.76

WB: 4.55

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UPN: 4.09

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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.

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Program Station Households 1. “Barbara Walters Special” KABC 1,467,704 2. Seinfeld KNBC 1,056,948 3. 60 Minutes KCBS 966,781 4. Friends KNBC 936,726 5. Frasier KNBC 911,680 6. “Evening at Academy Awards” KABC 851,569 7. Just Shoot Me KNBC 816,504 8. The X-Files KTTV 806,486 9. Caroline in the City KNBC 781,440 10. NYPD Blue KABC 756,394

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Source: Nielsen Media Research

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