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Prime-Time TV Rankings

'Millionaire's' Star Power Enough to Fuel ABC Win

November 22, 2000|BRIAN LOWRY

Celebrity editions of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" padded ABC's vote count last week while lagging far behind the show's first star-laden stunt last spring, based on viewing estimates issued Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

Featuring such personalities as Drew Carey and Tyra Banks, "Millionaire's" celebrity installments (a fifth ran Nov. 12) averaged 23.9 million viewers, 24% higher than the show's usual performance this season; still, that pales next to the more than 35 million people who tuned in nightly during the first celebrity showcase in May.

Star power, in fact, was evident throughout the week, timed to the current rating sweeps. ABC received a lift from Robin Williams' guest turn on the improv show "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"--which nearly matched the audience for NBC's "Cursed" in the same half-hour--and the Sunday movie "Santa Who?," starring Leslie Nielsen. NBC also boosted its Thursday lineup with the debut of Sally Field on "ER"--delivering the biggest audience for any program this season--while "Will & Grace" parlayed Cher's appearance into its highest rating in five weeks.

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 15.07 million 13.42 NBC 13.71 12.76 CBS 11.94 12.31 FOX 9.86 10.25 WB 4.59 4.44 UPN 4.04 4.38

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Southland Viewing

Here are Nielsen's Top 5 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. Friends KNBC 1,006,590 2. Will & Grace KNBC 953,048 3. ER KNBC 888,797 4. The West Wing KNBC 819,193 5. The Practice KABC 754,942

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