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Feb 23, 2001  •  Post A Comment

‘Survivor’ thrashes ‘Friends,’ ‘Will & Grace’

CBS’s “Survivor: The Australian Outback” won an across-the-board demographics rating victory in its fourth weekly battle vs. NBC’s expanded 40-minute versions of “Friends” and “Will & Grace” during the 8 p.m.-to-9 p.m. (ET) Thursday time period this week. “Survivor’s” final February sweeps victory came as “Friends” and “Will & Grace” experienced week-to-week erosion in the household and key demo ratings.

“Survivor’s” 11.9 rating/28 share average in adults 18 to 49 represented a slight 1 percent increase week to week, while “Friends” and “Will & Grace’s” 9.6/22 in the 8 p.m. hour represented a 12 percent decline in the time period and a 24 percent margin of victory for CBS.

According to Nielsen Media Research’s final national returns, “Survivor” also held 17 percent, 29 percent and 44 percent advantages, respectively, over NBC comedies in adults 18 to 34 (11.9/28 vs. 9.9/24), households (16.7/25 vs. 12.9/19) and total viewers (28.7 million vs. 19.9 million) for the hour.

But “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” could not hold its “Survivor” lead-in, dropping 31 percent to a 7.7/17 in adults 18 to 49, a figure that was also down 8 percent from its previous week’s score. Winning the 9 p.m.-to-10 p.m. hour with the final 20 minutes of the “super-sized” version of “Will & Grace” and a similarly super-sized “Just Shoot Me,” NBC posted a 9.6/22 in adults 18 to 49-though that was down 3 percent from its previous weekly average in the time period.

NBC’s Rock of Gibraltar, “ER,” closed out the 10 p.m.-to-11 p.m. frame with evening-best averages of 13.7/34 in adults 18 to 49 and an 17.9/28 in households to power the Peacock to wins in households (14.1/22) and 18 to 49 (11.0/26). CBS came in second in households (12.1/18) and 18 to 49 (7.6/18), but “Survivor” edged “ER” in total viewers (28.7 million vs. 27.1 million) on the evening.

Disney wins Saturday morning: “Disney’s One Saturday Morning” children’s block at 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (ET) powered ABC to an unusual win Feb. 17, earning its best kids 2 to 11 demographic delivery during the 24th week of the season. ABC’s 2.9 rating/13 share average in kids 2 to 11 held a 7 percent margin of victory over perennial Saturday winner, Kids WB! (2.7/12) and bettered “Disney’s One Saturday Morning’s” previous season-high (2.7 rating) by 7 percent, according to Nielsen Media Research national ratings.

ABC’s kids block held 38 percent and 71 percent margins of victory over Fox Kids Network (2.1/7) and CBS (1.7/8), respectively. ABC increased its delivery of kids 2 to 11 by 12 percent (2.9 rating vs. 2.6 rating) compared with the previous week.

Topping off ABC’s Saturday win was its back-to-back 9 a.m.-to-10 a.m. runs of “Recess,” which averaged a top-ranked 3.9 rating for the hour in kids 2 to 11. At 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., “Lloyd in Space” came in second in the time period at a 3.5 rating, beating out Fox’s “Zach Files” (2.1 rating) by a 67 percent margin. “House of Mouse” closed things out at 12:30 p.m. with its highest kids 2 to 11 ratings ever (3.5 rating), also marking ABC’s best delivery in the time period this season.

Davies names Leshem executive vice president: In his first hiring move since forming Diplomatic Productions in December, Michael Davies-executive producer of ABC’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and president of the jointly financed ABC/Disney production company-has tapped Matti Leshem as executive vice president.

Mr. Leshem most recently was CEO of AntEye.com, a content-driven Web site focusing on the production of original pilots and presentations.

Looking at “Millionaire” as a proven model for profitable interactive games and highly-trafficked Internet sites (on ABC.com), Mr. Davies said Mr. Leshem’s “expertise in building successful business models for new media as well as traditional media” made him a must-hire to head Diplomatic. Mr. Davies noted that his friendship and working relationship with Mr. Leshem dates back to when he was a technology adviser to the producer on the former Lifetime cable network game show, “Debt” from 1995-98.

Lewis to host show for CNN: CNN has hired Shelly Lewis as producer of its yet-to-be-titled prime-time news show, to be hosted by Jeff Greenfield, that is slated to launch in April.

Ms. Lewis was previously executive producer at ABC News Productions. From 1997-99, she was executive producer of “Good Morning America.”

FCC calling all engineers: Federal Communications Commission officials are concerned the agency has a shortage of engineers and is having trouble attracting more because engineers can usually command higher salaries in the private sector. The problem is made worse by the fact that many of the FCC’s engineers will reach retirement age in a few years.

At an FCC meeting last week, agency Chairman Michael Powell said the FCC is exploring ways to better attract and retain engineers, such as through more generous benefits or increased compensation. He also wants FCC attorneys to familiarize themselves with engineering and technical issues. The FCC has 269 engineers out of a staff of about 2,000.#