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Prime-Time TV Rankings

'Ellen,' 'Gump' Help ABC Come Out on Top

May 07, 1997|BRIAN LOWRY

The unlikely combination of "Ellen" and "Forrest Gump" lifted ABC to its first weekly ratings win since January, according to figures issued Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

With its media-hyped coming-out episode, "Ellen," starring Ellen DeGeneres, emerged as last week's top-rated program, while the Oscar-winning "Forrest Gump" was decorated again--this time with nearly 23 million viewers and with honors as ABC's second-highest-rated theatrical movie this season, behind "The Lion King."

Those performances helped offset ABC's disappointing numbers for "The Shining," which concluded its three-night engagement Thursday and winds up as the lowest-rated Stephen King mini-series ever, well behind such projects as "The Langoliers" and "The Stand."

Despite "Gump's" strong results, both NBC and CBS did reasonably well with their Sunday night movies--the opening installment of Robin Cook's "Invasion," with Luke Perry, and "Walker, Texas Ranger" spinoff "Sons of Thunder," respectively. That stiff competition held Fox's "The X-Files" to its second-lowest rating this season for an original episode.

ABC's "World News Tonight" also snapped "NBC Nightly News' " four-month winning streak, ending the NBC newscast's longest first-place run in more than a decade.

Network Averages

Here is the number of viewers that each network averaged per hour of prime time, for last week and for the season.


Last Week

ABC: 16.03 million

NBC: 14.16

CBS: 13.34

FOX: 10.39

UPN: 4.23

WB: 3.00


Season to Date

NBC: 15.19 million

CBS: 13.75

ABC: 13.53

FOX: 11.68

UPN: 4.47

WB: 3.61

Southland Viewing

Here are Nielsen's Top 10 prime-time programs in the Los Angeles area during the same week. The rankings are based on the number of households watching.


Program Station Households 1. Ellen KABC 1,448,135 2. ER KNBC 1,201,013 3. Seinfeld KNBC 1,003,315 4. PrimeTime Live KABC 948,948 5. The X-Files KTTV 899,524 6. Friends KNBC 830,330 7. Suddenly Susan KNBC 751,251 8. Fired Up KNBC 731,481 9. "Forrest Gump" KABC 726,539 10. "The Shining" Part 2 KABC 706,769 "Invasion" Part 1 KNBC 706,769


Source: Nielsen Media Research

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