Grammys, 'Perfect' Boost CBS; ABC Sweeps February

The top-rated Grammy Awards since 1993 and the JonBenet Ramsey miniseries "Perfect Murder, Perfect Town" elevated CBS to its highest weekly rating this season and a solid second-place prime-time finish--about all any network can hope for facing the "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" onslaught.

Based on viewing estimates issued Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research, ABC will easily win the February sweeps--which officially conclude tonight--with the Regis Philbin-hosted quiz show accounting for nearly a fifth of its programming schedule during the four-week ratings survey. ABC threw on two extra editions of "Millionaire" last week and also posted stellar ratings with two showings of the film "Ransom," starring Mel Gibson.

Featuring a revealing and much-discussed appearance by Jennifer Lopez, the Grammys became the first program to beat "Millionaire" in head-to-head competition, while "Perfect Murder" drew a bigger audience than the competing miniseries that began Sunday, ABC's "The Beach Boys" and NBC's "The 10th Kingdom."

Fox finished a distant fourth overall last week and even trailed CBS--which generally appeals to an older audience--among adults under 50. One setback involved the latest of daredevil Robbie Knievel's death-defying leaps, which are yielding diminishing returns: The special attracted about 6 million fewer viewers than a similar stunt in February 1999.

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 6.73 2. The Sopranos HBO 6.66 3. Wrestling (Mon., 9 p.m.) USA 6.38 4. Boxing (Sat., 10 p.m.) HBO 5.81 5. Boxing (Sat., 9:20 p.m.) HBO 4.66 6. Snick House NICK 3.75 7. Wrestling (Mon., 8 p.m.) TNT 3.48 8. Wrestling (Sun., 7 p.m.) USA 3.46 9. Wild Thornberrys NICK 3.45 10. Rocket Power NICK 3.18


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 16.69 million 14.07 CBS 14.91 12.94 NBC 13.00 12.00 FOX 9.85 9.35 UPN 3.86 3.95 WB 3.78 3.86


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. Grammy Awards KCBS 1,528,532 2. ER KNBC 978,889 3. Millionaire (Tue.) KABC 963,185 4. Friends KNBC 957,950 5. Frasier KNBC 884,664 6. Millionaire (Sun.) KABC 863,726 7. "The Beach Boys" KABC 832,317 8. Millionaire (Fri.) KABC 785,205 9. Millionaire (Thur.) KABC 769,501 10. Millionaire (Wed.) KABC 753,797


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