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Sep 27, 2001  •  Post A Comment

ABC wins key demo Wednesday night

Propelled by NBC’s viewer drop-off for its “Lost” reality series and a repeat of “The West Wing,” ABC got strong season-opening ratings from “My Wife & Kids” and “The Drew Carey Show” to take a narrow win over the Peacock Network Wednesday night in adults 18 to 49. ABC similarly benefited from some unexpectedly weaker adult demo returns for CBS’s “Amazing Race” and “Wolf Lake.”

The 8 p.m.-to-9 p.m. (ET) season opener of “My Wife & Kids” registered a winning 5.5 rating/15 share in adults 18 to 49, marking its second-best score in the key demo since its Feb. 28, 2001, debut (5.7/15) last season, according to preliminary Nielsen fast national data. Starting from its 4.8/14 score in the opening half-hour, “My Wife & Kids” grew 29 percent from its lead-in to close at a 6.2/16 for its second half-hour.

“My Wife & Kids” held a 38 percent advantage in adults 18 to 49 over Fox’s opening-hour (4.0/11) lineup of “That ’70s Show” and “Grounded for Life,” which recorded 4.4/12 and 3.7/10 scores in the demo, respectively. However, the original episodes of “That ’70s Show” (5.2/17) and “Grounded” (4.3/13) turned in first- and second-place performances in adults 18 to 34.

Pre-empted for two weeks since its premiere on Sept. 5, “Lost’s” bottom-ranked 2.6/7 in adults 18 to 49 during the 8 p.m. hour marked a precipitous 36 percent decline from its premiere numbers in the demo (4.1/14). Meanwhile, news-hungry viewers flocked to CBS’s “60 Minutes II,” which won the hour in households (9.4/15) and total viewers (13.1 million).

Inexplicably, though, CBS’s third episode of “Amazing Race” dropped 36 percent of its “60 Minutes II” lead-in by posting a 6.0/9 in households (representing 8.6 million viewers). Although well-received by TV critics and ad buyers, “Amazing Race’s” 3.6/9 in adults 18 to 49 also marked a 28 percent decrease from its premiere demo ratings (5.0/14) on Sept. 5. Despite facing off against a repeat episode of NBC’s “The West Wing,” “Amazing Race’s” household and total viewer numbers were off 20 percent and 27 percent, respectively, from its premiere numbers.

ABC’s special hour run of “Drew Carey” took 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. in adults 18 to 49 (4.8/12), but the show did experience a 17 percent drop from its first to second half-hour frames (5.3/13 vs. 4.4/10). Fox’s second episode of the reality series “Love Cruise: The Maiden Voyage” turned in a third-ranked 4.0/10 in adults 18 to 49, but won the hour in Fox’s core adults 18 to 34 demo (5.1/14). “Love Cruise’s” 18 to 34 numbers showed promising 6 percent growth over its lead-in 8 p.m. comedy hour.

Even though it was a repeat, NBC’s “West Wing” won the hour in households (9.6/14) and total viewers (13.8 million) with a second-place finish in adults 18 to 49 (4.3/10). That lead-in fed into NBC’s 11-year-old “Law & Order” opening its season by dominating 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. with a second-best-ever score in adults 18 to 49 (7.5/20) and evening highs in households (13.8/22) and total viewers (20.6 million).

NBC’s continued strength at 10 p.m. left ABC’s “20/20” newsmagazine with second-ranked scores in households (8.0/13), total viewers (11.2 million) and adults 18 to 49 (4.4/11). CBS saw the third episode of its “Wolf Lake” drama dip 9 percent week to week to a bottom-ranked 3.0/8 in adults 18 to 49 due to the renewed competition from “Law & Order.” “Wolf Lake” dropped 17 percent in adults 18 to 49 from its “Amazing Race” lead-in.

For the night, ABC won adults 18 to 49 (4.9/13), scoring its first regular-season Wednesday win in the demo since March 7, 2001. NBC, which still won the night in households (9.2/15) and total viewers (13.5 million), came in second in adults 18 to 49 (4.8/12) by a narrow 2 percent margin. CBS came in fourth in adults 18 to 49 (3.4/9), with Fox pulling an unexpectedly stronger 4.0/10 score in the demo. Fox also won the night in its key adults18 to 34 demo (4.9/10).

‘Enterprise’ pulls in second-best household ratings ever for UPN: UPN’s 8 p.m.-to-10 p.m.(ET) series premiere of the “Star Trek” prequel “Enterprise” Wednesday night dared to go where other spinoffs have succeeded before.

Sporting a new captain (played by Scott Bakula) and crew, the retro version of the fabled franchise warped to a 9.1 rating/13 share household average in Nielsen Media Research’s metered markets — besting all network competition Wednesday night in the overnight markets.

The household score was the second best ever for 6-year-old UPN, after the start of previous incarnation “Star Trek: Voyager” launched the network to a record 14.7/20 household score on Jan. 16, 1995.

Additionally, preliminary Nielsen national averages had “Enterprise” premiering at a 7.0/11 household average, 84 percent higher than “Voyager’s premiere episode (3.8/7) in 1999 — the last season, not to be delayed by Olympics or presidential election coverage. All told, 12.2 million total viewers caught “Enterprise’s” opening bow. down 41 percent from “Voyager’s” 21.2 million head count.

Preliminary numbers also indicate at “Enterprise’s” adult 18-49 rating (6.3/16) topped all networks Wednesday night.

‘Concert for New York’ scheduled for Oct. 20 broadcast: In this season of star-studded televised concerts to benefit the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, “The Concert for New York,” to be televised on Oct. 20 by VH1, may be the most glittering yet.

“The Concert for New York” will feature musical performances by Paul McCartney, The Who, Bon Jovi, James Taylor, John Mellencamp, Macy Gray, Goo Goo Dolls, Melissa Etheridge and others. Participants also will include Jim Carrey, Jerry Seinfeld, Gwyneth Paltrow, John Cusack and members of all of New York’s sports teams.

New York fire, police and rescue crews and their families will be invited as guests for the four-hour telecast that will air live and be simulcast on radio stations across the country.

VH1, Cablevision, Miramax Films and their partners, including Clear Channel Communications, will underwrite all costs of the concert and telecast, including the facility, production, promotion, travel and union services.

Telethon organizers working on companion CD: The musical performances from last week’s all-star telethon for victims of the Sept. 11 air attacks will be packaged as a benefit album to raise additional relief dollars, Reuters reported today.

“America: A Tribute to Heroes” featured such stars as Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, U2, Paul Simon, and Sting.

Though the only rights initially obtained from performers were for the show itself, Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records, is reportedly overseeing efforts to obtain rights for a CD as well.

The commercial-free event, which raised more than $150 million for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, was simulcast on 35 U.S. broadcast and cable networks, some 8,000 radio stations and the Internet. It also was beamed to TV outlets in more than 210 countries around the globe. A spokesman said the goal is to get the companion CD ready for sale to consumers as quickly as possible.

Gravity Games, NASCAR on NBC Sports this weekend: NBC Sports will televise the third annual Gravity Games on seven Sundays, starting at 4:30 p.m. (ET) Sunday, Sept. 30. The 101/2 hours of programming will feature hosts Pat Parnell, Kenan Harkin, Gabrielle Reece and Jamie Little, who are all returning from last year to provide commentary and interviews. NBC Sports will also broadcast NASCAR’s “Race for the Championship” this weekend with the inaugural NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series races from the new Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan. NBC’s coverage of NASCAR Busch Series racing begins at 2 p.m. (ET) Saturday. NBC’s coverage of Sunday’s NASCAR Winston Cup racing begins at 12:30 p.m. (ET).

(c) Copyright 2001 by Crain Communications