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Prime-Time TV Rankings

NBC Episodes Top List of Season and Series Finales

May 24, 2000|BRIAN LOWRY

Season-ending episodes and series finales dominated the prime-time standings last week, including the most-watched "Frasier" ever, "The Practice's" second-best rating thus far and the biggest assembly for "Beverly Hills, 90210" in more than four years, based on viewing estimates issued Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

NBC's trio of Thursday finales also included season-high viewing of "Friends" and "ER's" second-biggest audience of the year. "The X-Files," meanwhile, unearthed its top rating in three months, although "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire"--soundly beaten by "Frasier," starring Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce, and edged May 14 by the CBS miniseries "Jesus"--rebounded somewhat Sunday as the show began a tournament of champions.

Made-for-TV movies have generally struggled to find viewers during the current sweeps competition, and Sunday was no exception. CBS' Linda McCartney biography stumbled badly, while NBC fared better with its behind-the-scenes look at "The Brady Bunch."

The Wednesday conclusion of "Jesus"--opposite the "90210" send-off and NBC's "Law & Order"--slipped by almost 25%, or about 5.7 million viewers, compared to its opening night. ABC's "20/20" also surged to its highest rating in more than a year thanks to Diane Sawyer's interview with Michael J. Fox, which bodes well for the actor's "Spin City" farewell episode, which will be shown tonight.

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 7.54 2. Wrestling (Mon., 9 p.m.) USA 6.99 3. Wrestling (Mon., 8 p.m.) TNT 4.05 4. NBA Playoffs (Fri.) TNT 3.74 5. Wrestling (Sun., 7 p.m.) USA 3.69 6. "Good Night, Sweet Wife" LIFE 3.38 7. Snick House NICK 3.20 8. "Cheaters" HBO 3.17 9. Wrestling TBS 3.14 10. Wrestling (Mon., 9 p.m.) TNT 3.13

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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 14.35 million 14.22 NBC 13.82 12.34 CBS 12.56 12.44 FOX 8.94 8.98 UPN 3.98 3.93 WB 3.62 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. Frasier KNBC 1,319,144 2. Friends KNBC 1,240,624 3. ER KNBC 1,235,389 4. Millionaire (Sun.) KABC 832,317 The Practice KABC 832,317 6. Beverly Hills, 90210 KTTV 806,144 7. Millionaire (Tue.) KABC 790,440 8. Millionaire (Wed.) KABC 753,797 "Air Force One" KABC 753,797 10. 20/20 (Wed.) KABC 727,623

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