Fox, ABC split Sunday ratings wins
The delayed season-opener of Fox’s regular Sunday night lineup took home adult 18 to 49 and 18 to 34 wins Sunday night, while ABC’s three-hour presentation of “Saving Private Ryan” gave the network broad-based household and total viewer wins.
Starting with a carry-over from a National Football League game from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. (ET) earning a top-ranked 6.1 rating/17 share average in adults 18 to 49, Fox got a good kick-start to the evening, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research fast national data. From there, 7:30 p.m.-to-9 p.m. sitcom runs of “King of the Hill” (5.1/13), “The Simpsons” (6.7/16) and “Malcolm in the Middle” (7.0/16) opened their seasons to progressive winning scores in adults 18 to 49 within each half-hour frame.
In the 8 p.m.-to-8:30 p.m. slot, ABC saw its start of “Private Ryan” break out with a 5.7/14 in adults 18 to 49, marking 84 percent improvement over its “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” lead-in (3.1/8) from the previous half-hour frame. From there, “Private Ryan” had a 30 percent ratings build over the evening (from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.), finishing the span with top-ranked scores in adults 18 to 49 (6.7/16), households (11.1/17) and total viewers (17.8 million).
CBS’s two-hour run of its “I Love Lucy 50th Anniversary Special” also proved the ’50s sitcom’s evergreen appeal with viewers, drawing a top-ranked 11.7/18 average in households and 17.3 million total viewers from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. “Lucy” proved to be a strong draw with adults 25 to 54 (6.6/14), but also turned in a healthy 5.2/12 with adults 18 to 49 as well.
The increased competition from “Lucy” and “Private Ryan” put only a slight dent in Fox’s season-opening bow of “The X-Files,” which finished second in adults 18 to 49 (5.8/13) but still won adults 18 to 34 (5.6/13).
Meanwhile, NBC’s prime time lineup — “Dateline NBC” (3.1/8), “The Weakest Link” (3.9/9), “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (4.2/9) and “UC: Undercover” (3.0/7) — largely held even week to week as the Peacock network finished fourth on the night in adults 18 to 49 (3.5/9).
ABC came out the big week-to-week gainer on the night, improving 46 percent in households (10.1/16), 30 percent in adults 18 to 49 (5.7/14) and 31 percent in total viewers (16.0 million). Fox came out the winner in adults 18 to 49 (6.1/15) and adults 18 to 34 (6.4/18) on Sunday, but those returns, including ratings for households (7.8/12) and total viewers (12.7 million), were about half — as expected — of what the network earned with the previous week’s cliff-hanger Game 7 of the World Series.
CBS came in a strong second in households (9.8/15) and third in adults 18 to 49 (3.9/9) but was down somewhat from the previous Sunday’s presentation of “The 53rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.”
Broadway Video forms distribution unit: Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video Entertainment is nearer its goal of becoming a full-service organization with the formation of Broadway Video Enterprises, a division that will distribute and add to the company’s programming library nationally and domestically and across TV, home video and licensing channels. Alexander Drosin has returned to the fold to be president of the Enterprises division after five years at Golden Books Family Entertainment. He will report to Broadway Video Entertainment President Jack Sullivan. Among the existing properties Mr. Drosin’s team will distribute are “Saturday Night Live” and “The Kids in the Hall.”
Virage, Premium TV team on soccer video project: Virage, a provider of enterprise-scale video content management and publishing solutions, said Monday it will work with Premium TV to transform this season’s soccer highlights from the English Nationwide Football League into streamed clips for participating club Web sites. Premium TV, a subsidiary of NTL Inc. that owns numerous sports rights, including the online rights to the English Nationwide Football League, will use Virage’s SmartEncode suite to simultaneously index and encode its video content, converting it into a structured database that can be searched on demand, and deliver video clips selected by the user.
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