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Prime-Time TV Rankings

'Jesus,' 'Frasier' Give 'Millionaire' Competition

May 17, 2000|BRIAN LOWRY

The CBS miniseries "Jesus" and NBC's "Frasier" managed to make "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" look like a mere mortal series last week, based on viewing estimates issued Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

"Jesus," starring Jeremy Sisto, amassed the biggest flock for a miniseries this season, while "Frasier" delivered its highest tune-in since "Millionaire" became its time-slot competition in January. Competing directly with both, ABC's quiz-show hit slipped to its lowest Sunday and Thursday ratings of the year. Those results suggest that while "Millionaire" is still a ratings dynamo, the program is vulnerable to special events and stunts--a glimmer of hope for the other networks, since the Sunday installment has generally pounded their high-profile miniseries throughout the current rating sweeps.

"ER's" chart rose to the second-highest rating this season thanks to Julianna Margulies' final appearance. CBS could also point to a strong performance by "Judging Amy," which beat "NYPD Blue" for the first time since February.

Fox continues to trot out sweeps-oriented reality programs, as "Battle of the Child Geniuses" steadily gained viewers to win its second hour, while "Powers of the Paranormal: Live on Stage" didn't exhibit any powers when it came to attracting an audience.

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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Net- View- Program work ers 1. Wrestling (Mon., 10 p.m.) USA 7.44 2. Wrestling (Mon., 9 p.m.) USA 6.99 3. Hey Arnold NICK 3.99 4. Rugrats (Tue., 8 p.m.) NICK 3.58 5. Wrestling (Mon.) TNT 3.45 6. Boxing (Sat.) HBO 3.33 7. Wrestling (Sun.) TNT 3.27 8. "The Corner" HBO 3.25 9. Rugrats (Thur., 8:30 p.m.) NICK 3.24 10. Wrestling (Wed.) TBS 3.14

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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 Season week to date ABC 13.64 million 14.21 NBC 12.84 12.29 CBS 11.86 12.44 FOX 8.56 8.98 UPN 4.08 3.93 WB 3.24 3.63

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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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Sta- House- Program tion holds 1. ER KNBC 1,209,216 2. Frasier KNBC 984,124 3. Friends KNBC 957,950 4. Frasier (10 p.m.) KNBC 842,878 5. "Jesus" KCBS 837,552 6. Friends (9 p.m.) KNBC 827,083 7. Millionaire (Tue.) KABC 806,144 8. Law & Order KNBC 738,093 9. Ally McBeal KTTV 680,511 10. Millionaire (Wed.) KABC 664,807

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