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Prime-Time TV Rankings

Plane Crash Puts Newsmagazines in Spotlight

July 21, 1999|BRIAN LOWRY

Viewers followed coverage of John F. Kennedy Jr.'s plane crashing off Martha's Vineyard from one newsmagazine to another on Sunday night, based on results issued Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

While ratings were not immediately available for the weekend's morning hours, prime-time standings show "60 Minutes" as well as the Sunday editions of "20/20" and "Dateline NBC"--which spent considerable time reporting on the story--all ranked among the week's top 10 programs.

Ratings for ABC's "20/20" also benefited from a high-profile interview last week: Diane Sawyer's first TV chat with Tom Cruise, linked to the release of the new movie "Eyes Wide Shut."

The only other significant ratings draw was baseball's All-Star Game, which topped the weekly Nielsen stat sheet despite a 7% drop in viewing versus a year ago. Those numbers were enough to propel Fox into first place for the week, as the four major networks finished the week separated by a mere 120,000 viewers during an average minute of prime time.

National Nielsen Viewership

Here are the rankings for national prime-time network television last week (July 12-18) as compiled by Nielsen Media Research. They are based on the average number of people who watched a program from start to finish. Nielsen estimates that there are 256.6 million potential U.S. viewers age 2 and older. Viewership is listed here in millions.

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. All-Star Home Run Derby ESPN 8.90 2. Wrestling (Mon., 10 p.m.) USA 6.59 3. All-Star Hitting Challenge ESPN 5.76 4. Wrestling (Mon., 9 p.m.) USA 5.67 5. "Lethal Weapon 4" (Sun.) HBO 4.76 6. Wrestling (Sun., 7 p.m.) USA 4.67 7. "Lethal Weapon 4" (Tue.) HBO 4.48 8. Wrestling (Mon., 10 p.m.) TNT 4.05 9. Real World VIII MTV 3.86 10. NTSB Press Conference CNN 3.83

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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 8.42 million 9.89 CBS 8.41 12.33 NBC 8.41 12.00 ABC 8.30 11.03 WB 3.55 4.25 UPN 1.81 2.61

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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. Frasier KNBC 744,590 2. Will & Grace KNBC 667,563 3. 60 Minutes KCBS 585,401 4. 20/20 (Sun.) KABC 564,861 5. 20/20 (Wed.) KABC 559,726 6. Friends KNBC 539,186 Jesse KNBC 539,186 8. The Drew Carey Show KABC 534,050 Whose Line Is It Anyway? KABC 534,050 10. 20/20 (Fri.) KABC 503,240

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