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Prime-Time TV Rankings

World Series Puts Fox in First; NBC Strikes Out

October 28, 1998|BRIAN LOWRY

With its Thursday lineup in reruns and even the lowest-rated World Series ever helping Fox steal first, NBC endured a fourth-place finish for the first time in its history last week, according to results issued Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

ABC received a bit of a lift from the season premiere of "NYPD Blue"--which, heading toward Jimmy Smits' exit, shoved into the top 10 despite facing a World Series game that beaned its lead-in, the new half-hour "Sports Night."

Otherwise, it was a pretty dismal week for network dramas. At 9 p.m. Friday, for example, Fox's "Millennium" and the new programs "Trinity" and "Buddy Faro" all drew poor ratings, though the premiere of "Brimstone" did slightly improve upon Fox's performance with sitcoms in the 8 p.m. hour. NBC's "Wind on Water," meanwhile, was washed away after just its second Saturday telecast.

Fox, which hadn't ranked first since televising the Super Bowl in January 1997, also scared up viewers with Sunday's "The Simpsons" Halloween episode. In hindsight, NBC fouled out by airing reruns Thursday with no baseball competition after the Yankees swept the Padres. The network did provide some exposure for its new sitcom "Will & Grace," airing the show after "Just Shoot Me" and "Frasier."

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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. Sunday Night Football ESPN 8.31 2. Wrestling (Mon., 10 p.m.) USA 5.30 3. "Pretty Woman" TBS 5.18 4. Wrestling (Mon., 9 p.m.) USA 5.17 5. Wrestling (Mon., 8 p.m.) TNT 5.15 6. Wrestling (Thur., 8:59 p.m.) TBS 5.01 7. Wrestling (Sun., 7 p.m.) USA 4.46 8. Wrestling (Thur., 8:05 p.m.) TBS 4.30 9. Wrestling (Mon., 10 p.m.) TNT 4.28 10. Wrestling (Mon., 9 p.m.) TNT 3.98

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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.

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Last week Season to date FOX 13.38 million 10.52 CBS 12.22 13.02 ABC 11.80 12.11 NBC 11.22 13.00 WB 4.91 4.64 UPN 2.84 2.71

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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. Ally McBeal KTTV 916,689 2. Friends KNBC 791,458 3. 60 Minutes KCBS 786,449 4. Frasier KNBC 776,431 5. NewsRadio KNBC 701,292 6. Will & Grace KNBC 686,265 7. The Simpsons KTTV 656,209 8. World Series, Game 4 KTTV 651,200 9. NYPD Blue KABC 641,181 10. Law & Order KNBC 551,015 ER KNBC 551,015

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