'West Wing' Episodes Help NBC Get Viewers' Votes

NBC used the week before the Democratic National Convention to launch its own campaign for "The West Wing," with four episodes of the program generating solid sampling among viewers last week, based on viewing estimates issued Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

The only installment of "The West Wing," which stars Martin Sheen, that failed to exceed 10 million viewers ran Aug. 8 opposite "NYPD Blue" and "Judging Amy." Beyond capitalizing on the political season, the special week doubtless kept the show in the mind of Emmy voters the same week screening cassettes were being mailed out.

ABC still managed to win the week thanks to "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," while CBS' "Survivor" inched up to a new ratings plateau, building toward its Aug. 23 conclusion. The program has slowly but steadily added viewers each of the last four weeks and proven a boon to "Big Brother," which is consistently attracting by far its biggest audience with the live Wednesday edition that now follows "Survivor."

ABC's other highlights included a "Columbo" movie, which sleuthed out the network's highest Monday-night rating in 11 weeks. A preseason football game, by contrast, fared poorly, with CBS' Friday telecast drawing almost a third fewer viewers than the corresponding exhibition last year.

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 8.50 2. Wrestling (Mon., 9 p.m.) USA 6.63 3. "Running Mates" TNT 5.89 4. "The Truth About Jane" LIFE 4.90 5. "The Haunting" HBO 4.43 6. Sex and the City HBO 4.42 7. "Deep Blue Sea" HBO 4.31 8. "The American President" TNT 3.56 9. Wrestling (Sun., 7 p.m.) USA 3.43 10. "Deep Blue Sea" (Sun.) HBO 3.40


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 9.94 million 13.13 CBS 8.87 11.71 NBC 7.75 11.46 FOX 5.77 8.26 UPN 3.42 3.79 WB 2.66 3.34


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. Survivor KCBS 884,664 2. Millionaire (Tue.) KABC 868,960 3. Millionaire (Thur.) KABC 827,083 4. Millionaire (Sun.) KABC 680,511 5. "Columbo: Ashes to Ashes" KABC 586,286 6. Dharma & Greg KABC 560,113 7. 20/20 Downtown KABC 539,174 8. Friends KNBC 533,939 9. Dateline NBC (Fri.) KNBC 476,358 10. "Vanished" KABC 460,654


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