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Prime-Time TV Rankings

'Noah's Ark,' Roberts Help Establish Order for NBC

May 12, 1999|BRIAN LOWRY

Julia Roberts' guest appearance on "Law & Order" and the conclusion of "Noah's Ark" paired with NBC's Thursday lineup to pace the network to another ratings victory, based on results issued Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

CBS provided the stiffest competition, thanks mainly to "The Simple Life of Noah Dearborn," starring Sidney Poitier, and the Academy of Country Music Awards. The former delivered CBS' biggest Sunday movie audience in six weeks--easily beating NBC's latest miniseries, "The Hunt for the Unicorn Killer," and the season finale of "The Practice."

The 200th "Law & Order" episode, featuring Roberts, made a convincing case, scoring the program's highest rating in more than two years. The news wasn't as good for several other network hits, with mediocre results last week for such series as "Frasier," "NYPD Blue," "The X-Files" and "The Simpsons" compared to their usual rating standards. With its key Sunday shows exhibiting weakness, Fox slipped to its lowest weeklong average since early April.

ABC is relying heavily on feature films to get through the current rating sweeps, generating gains last week on Monday and Thursday by airing the Sean Connery movie "The Rock" and "A Time to Kill," respectively.

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. Wrestling (Mon., 10 p.m.) USA 7.86 2. Wrestling (Mon., 9 p.m.) USA 6.55 3. Wrestling (Mon., 8 p.m.) TNT 4.48 4. Wrestling (Sun., 7 p.m.) USA 4.15 5. "Paulie" HBO 3.66 6. Wrestling (Mon., 9 p.m.) TNT 3.62 7. Rugrats NICK 3.41 8. Wrestling (Thur., 9 p.m.) TBS 3.38 9. Hey, Arnold! NICK 3.37 10. "Switchback" HBO 3.11

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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 NBC 14.17 million 12.65 CBS 13.03 13.01 ABC 10.65 11.80 FOX 8.80 10.68 WB 4.09 4.47 UPN 2.71 2.76

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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. Friends KNBC 1,104,047 2. "Noah's Ark" Part 2 KNBC 908,913 Will & Grace KNBC 908,913 4. ER KNBC 893,507 5. Law & Order KNBC 847,292 6. Frasier KNBC 831,886 7. Ally McBeal KTTV 795,941 8. Veronica's Closet KNBC 688,103 9. The X-Files KTTV 631,617 10. Touched by an Angel KCBS 621,347

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