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Mar 29, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Posted Friday, March 29, at 11:45 a.m. (PT); last updated at 12:40 p.m.

‘Survivor’ boosts CBS, but NBC takes Thursday demo victory

CBS’s “Survivor: Marquesas,” back on at 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. (ET) Thursday after airing for two weeks on Wednesday night to make room for NCAA basketball coverage, put the network back into a competitive position against NBC for the evening. However, NBC’s return of “Friends” to original episodes powered “Must See TV” to a commanding 33 percent winning margin in adults 18 to 49 on Thursday, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research fast national data.

“Friends'” 10.5 rating/30 share average in adults 18 to 49 at 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. boosted NBC to a 48 percent winning margin in the demo over the first half-hour of “Survivor” (7.1/20). The fresh “Friends” episode also marked an 8 percent increase over last week’s rerun (9.6/27) and a 30 percent increase over its year-ago adults 18 to 49 demo average in the time slot.

Nevertheless, nothing could be done to stop the viewer migration in the winning 8:30 p.m. frame for “Survivor” (9.0/24), which jumped 27 percent from its lead-in score. The fifth weekly airing of NBC’s midseason entry “Leap of Faith” at 8:30 p.m. (7.1/19) dropped 5 percent from its week-ago adults 18 to 49 average (7.5//19) and is tracking 28 percent erosion in the demo since its high-water Feb. 28 premiere (9.9/23). “Leap” retained only 68 percent of its “Friends” lead-in in the key demo.

“Survivor: Marquesas” ended up posting second-ranked scores to NBC in adults 18 to 49 (8.1/22 vs. 8.8/24) and households (11.4/19 vs. 11.8/20), but won in total viewers (20.3 million vs. 18.4 million) for the entire 8 p.m. hour. However, after “Survivor” went up against weaker competition in posting a 9.2/25 average in adults 18 to 49 over two previous Wednesday airings, its latest Thursday airing represented a 12 percent drop in the key demo.

In the 9 to 10 p.m. frame, CBS’s surging “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (9.3/23) grew 15 percent from its lead-in among adults 18 to 49, beating NBC’s comedy combo of “Will & Grace” (8.1/20) and “Just Shoot Me” (7.4/18) by a 21 percent margin for the hour. “CSI” also set a high for the night in total viewers (24.9 million), holding a commanding 72 percent victory margin over the NBC comedies’ head count (14.4 million). True to form, though, NBC’s “ER” easily took the 10 p.m. hour in adults 18 to 49 (11.8//31), households (16.1/27) and total viewers (24.8 million).

NBC won the night in adults 18 to 49 (9.5/25), improving 27 percent over the previous Thursday’s rotation of largely repeat programming. NBC also nipped CBS in households (12.4/21 vs. 11.3/19) and total viewers (19.2 million vs. 18.8 million). However, the return of CBS’s normal Thursday series rotation sparked 48 percent growth in adults 18 to 49 week to week (7.1/18 vs. 4.8/13), after it aired college hoops the previous week.

Networks firm up fall NFL skeds: “Monday Night Football” didn’t get the late-season schedule flexibility it wanted to be able to pick up stronger matchups from other networks’ lineups. But the ABC football franchise did get an NFL schedule that starts Sept. 9 with a sequel to last season’s Patriots-Steelers matchup and includes appearances by each playoff team from last season.

“This schedule should ensure that ‘MNF’ remains television’s No. 1 show for men and a Top 10 prime-time program,” said ABC Sports President Howard Katz, who will team Al Michaels and new hire John Madden in the commentators’ booth this season.

Starting Sept. 8, Fox Sports will broadcast 111 games over a regular season that includes nine double-header Sundays, Thanksgiving Day and two Saturdays.

“Satisfying four broadcast partners is never easy, but the NFL has done an admirable job putting together a schedule that’s fair to all of us,” said Fox Sports President Ed Goren.

CBS Sports’ lineup of 111 regular-season games will include eight doubleheader weekends.

FCC invites public comments on Comcast-AT&T combo: The Federal Communications Commission invited public comment Friday on Comcast Corp.’s proposed acquisition of AT&T Broadband through April 29. Reply comments are due May 14.#

(c) Copyright 2002 by Crain Communications