Football, 'Miss America,' New Shows Make ABC Shine

The highest-rated "Monday Night Football" game since Labor Day, solid Tuesday night premieres and the "Miss America Pageant" helped ABC walk away with the weekly ratings crown, based on viewing estimates issued Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

ABC posted encouraging initial sampling for "The Geena Davis Show" and a preview of its drama "Gideon's Crossing," starring Andre Braugher. The network also won Saturday thanks to "Miss America," even though the pageant's Nielsen measurements were off 18% compared to last year.

People continue to test-drive new series, though ratings for most shows have dropped compared to their opening, as viewing patterns remain in flux. One surprise has been CBS' new Monday sitcom "Yes, Dear," which is consistently improving upon its "King of Queens" lead-in audience.

NBC ranked first among the young-adult demographics on which advertisers focus behind its revised Thursday lineup. Those results included a best-ever rating for "Will & Grace," as that sitcom and "Just Shoot Me" beat the Thursday edition of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," whose four installments averaged 19.6 million viewers.

HBO's "Sex and the City" closed its third season with an estimated 4.7 million viewers; however, 35% of that audience bailed out on the premiere of "Seinfeld" co-creator Larry David's new comedy, "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

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. Sunday Night Football ESPN 8.30 2. Wrestling (Mon., 10 p.m.) TNN 7.20 3. Wrestling (Mon., 9 p.m.) TNN 6.67 4. Sex and the City HBO 4.71 5. "Eyes Wide Shut" HBO 4.29 6. NFL Primetime ESPN 3.90 7. Wrestling (Mon., 8 p.m.) TNT 3.69 8. "First Target" TBS 3.69 9. Rugrats NICK 3.56 10. Jackass MTV 3.30


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 14.52 million 13.76 CBS 12.72 13.60 NBC 12.70 11.82 FOX 8.93 8.86 UPN 4.38 4.54 WB 4.14 4.38


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. Friends (8:30) KNBC 1,135,366 2. Will & Grace KNBC 1,044,323 3. Friends KNBC 1,038,967 4. ER KNBC 819,392 5. The Geena Davis Show KABC 781,903 6. Just Shoot Me KNBC 755,126 7. The Practice KABC 733,704 Millionaire (Tue.) KABC 733,704 Baseball, ALCS Postgame KNBC 733,704 10. Dharma & Greg KABC 706,926


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