NBC gains ground with reruns

CBS was the most-watched network last week, but it was “Law & Order: NBC” that turned the tide among the young-adult viewers most sought by advertisers, breaking Fox’s six-week winning streak by that measure, based on viewing estimates issued Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

With a full night of “Law & Order” reruns on Saturday and a double dose of the show Wednesday, nearly a third of NBC’s 22-hour prime-time schedule consisted of the “Law & Order” franchise. That, combined with record tune-in for “Fear Factor,” lifted NBC past Fox, which has proved less formidable since the sparsely watched “Married by America” replaced “Joe Millionaire,” leaving “American Idol” the main tent pole for its lineup.

Curiosity about “60 Minutes’ ” revival of “Point/Counterpoint” with Bill Clinton and Bob Dole, meanwhile, quickly ebbed, as the newsmagazine’s audience dropped by more than 3 million viewers compared with the previous week, when the segment premiered.

CBS’ Thursday lineup continues to click, although “Without a Trace” cooled a bit from recent highs despite a dominating performance by “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” against “Will & Grace” and “Good Morning, Miami” preceding it.


In the cable world, the opening of Sci Fi Channel’s “Children of Dune” averaged a respectable 3.3 million viewers Sunday, while Game Show Network corralled a record 1.2 million viewers with its first documentary, “Big Bucks: The Press Your Luck Scandal.”

Brian Lowry


Prime-time TV Rankings