NBA Finals, Reality Shows Set Summertime Pace

Two NBA championship games helped NBC eke out a victory in last week's ratings, based on viewing estimates issued Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

The current popularity of reality programming was also evident, as "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" continued to attract strong ratings with its fourth $1-million winner while viewing of CBS' "Survivor" keeps building, up 50% last week compared to its premiere. In fact, with most series in reruns, only one sitcom or drama, "Everybody Loves Raymond," managed to crack the Top 10.

Newsmagazines remain another antidote to summer repeats, with "20/20 Downtown"--capitalizing on "Millionaire's" dominance in the hour preceding it--winning its time period against an "ER" rerun. (ABC's celebration should be muted, since 3 million people who watched the first half- hour tuned out before "Downtown" was over.)

CBS' AFI special counting down the best 100 film comedies of all time ("Some Like It Hot," starring Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis, topped the list) proved a solid ratings attraction, drawing about 1.8 million more viewers than last year's special profiling the top 100 stars.

While not included in the prime-time standings, Tiger Woods' demolition of the U.S. Open field spilled into the evening on the East Coast and yielded record ratings for that event based on preliminary results.

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 9.20 2. Wrestling (Mon., 9 p.m.) USA 7.86 3. Real TV MTV 3.98 Sex and the City HBO 3.98 5. "Conspiracy Theory" TBS 3.79 6. Wrestling (Mon., 8 p.m.) TNT 3.69 7. Hey Arnold NICK 3.55 8. Timeshare FFC 3.53 9. "Deadlocked" TNT 3.47 10. Wrestling (Sun., 7 p.m.) USA 3.31


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 NBC 10.47 million 12.13 CBS 10.41 12.22 ABC 9.75 13.87 FOX 5.96 8.72 UPN 3.56 3.91 WB 2.13 3.51


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. NBA Finals Post Game KNBC 994,593 2. Millionaire (Thur.) KABC 774,736 3. Millionaire (Tue.) KABC 743,327 4. Millionaire (Sun.) KABC 727,623 5. 20/20 Downtown KABC 607,225 6. 20/20 (Fri.) KABC 549,644 7. 60 Minutes KCBS 528,705 8. 20/20 (Wed.) KABC 507,766 The Practice KABC 507,766 10. Extra KNBC 481,592


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