It's Not Mysterious Why Viewers Tuned In 'Ways'

Viewers remain hungry for alternatives to summer reruns--and apparently not just unconventional formats such as "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," "Survivor" and "Big Brother," based on viewing estimates for last week issued Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

NBC actually generated solid viewer sampling with the premiere of "Mysterious Ways," a dramatic series starring Adrian Pasdar slated to run later on Pax TV, a network part-owned by NBC. While ratings for this week's "Ways" dropped on a night that included Republican National Convention coverage and "Monday Night Football," the introduction reinforces the notion that there are opportunities to get viewers to try new series during the summer.

CBS boosted viewing of "Big Brother," meanwhile, by throwing one of its six weekly showings on immediately after "Survivor." Still, almost 40% of the record audience that tuned in "Survivor" bailed out, as ratings for "Big Brother" have followed a predictable pattern of sinking over the weekends--when the younger audience watching this staged soap opera is less available--and improving during the week.

Fox trotted out its own reality special, "Now or Never," which featured people "facing their fears and phobias" for cash. In the bad timing department, the special was hosted by Jerry Springer, who made headlines last week when a guest on his syndicated talk show was murdered.

Cable Top 10

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


Net- View- Program work ers 1. Wrestling (Mon., 10 p.m.) USA 9.22 2. Wrestling (Mon., 9 p.m.) USA 7.37 3. "The Nest" USA 4.79 4. Wrestling (Sun., 7 p.m.) USA 4.43 5. " 'N Sync:/Live at MSG" HBO 4.31 6. Sex and the City HBO 3.93 7. Wrestling (Mon., 8 p.m.) TNT 3.74 8. Real World MTV 3.56 9. "Universal Soldier: Return" HBO 3.54 10. "The Firm" USA 3.42


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 Season week to date ABC 9.70 million 13.29 CBS 9.55 11.84 NBC 8.87 11.66 FOX 5.91 8.36 UPN 3.19 3.80 WB 2.42 3.37


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.


Sta- House- Program tion holds 1. Millionaire (Thur.) KABC 821,848 2. Survivor KCBS 748,562 3. Millionaire (Tue.) KABC 701,450 4. Friends KNBC 533,939 5. Frasier KNBC 497,297 6. Big Brother (Wed.) KCBS 481,592 7. Everybody Loves Raymond KCBS 450,184 8. Will & Grace KNBC 444,950 9. The West Wing KNBC 408,307 10. Making the Band KABC 397,837 Whose Line Is It? (8:30 p.m.) KABC 397,837


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