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Prime-Time TV Rankings

McCaughey Septuplets Give ABC's 'Live' a Lift

April 15, 1998|BRIAN LOWRY

A story on the McCaughey septuplets helped ABC's "PrimeTime Live" deliver its biggest audience of the season last week, based on results issued Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

NBC's Thursday lineup accounted for the top five programs in an otherwise ho-hum week that saw viewing of all four major networks decline compared to the corresponding period a year ago.

ABC's "The Practice" did score its highest rating since moving to Monday nights in January, and "The Ten Commandments," starring Charlton Heston as Moses, remained a solid attraction Sunday despite its 19th telecast since 1973; in fact, ABC's stronger-than-usual performance probably contributed to a 30% ratings drop in viewership for the second voyage of HBO's much-ballyhooed Tom Hanks docudrama "From the Earth to the Moon."

Some of the spring's unsung heroes, meanwhile, continue to be video-oriented "reality programs" such as CBS' "Candid Camera," ABC's "America's Funniest Home Videos" and Fox's recently added "World's Wildest Police Videos," which have all had a positive ratings impact. By contrast, most new sitcoms have struggled, and ABC's drama about athletes in training, "Push," looked like a 98-pound weakling in its premiere.

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Cable Top 10

Here are Nielsen's top 10 cable programs in prime time last week, also ranked by total viewers (in millions).

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Program Network Viewers 1. "Volcano" HBO 5.70 2. Wrestling (Mon., 8 p.m.) TNT 5.03 3. Wrestling (Mon., 10 p.m.) TNT 4.93 4. Wrestling (Mon., 10 p.m.) USA 4.85 5. Wrestling (Mon., 9 p.m.) TNT 4.77 6. Wrestling (Thur., 9:05 p.m.) TBS 4.75 7. Rugrats Passover Nick 4.72 8. Wrestling (Mon., 8:57 p.m.) USA 4.70 9. "From Earth to Moon" (Sun.) HBO 4.56 10. South Park COMC 3.89

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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

NBC: 12.41 million

CBS: 11.52

ABC: 10.70

FOX: 9.18

WB: 3.85

UPN: 3.19

*

Season to Date

NBC: 14.78 million

CBS: 14.35

ABC: 12.51

FOX: 10.66

WB: 4.50

UPN: 4.04

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.

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Program Station Households 1. Seinfeld KNBC 1,212,234 2. ER KNBC 956,763 3. Friends KNBC 866,597 4. Veronica's Closet KNBC 861,588 5. Fraiser KNBC 761,403 6. Just Shoot Me KNBC 751,385 7. Ally McBeal KTTV 686,265 8. Touched by an Angel KCBS 671,237 9. 60 Minutes KCBS 666,228 10. "Ten Commandments" KABC 636,172

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