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TELEVISION & RADIO

Many happy returns for Fox

November 06, 2002|Brian Lowry

With the World Series over, Fox finally put its prime-time lineup on the field, scoring with "The Simpsons" and "24" while struggling with its new dramas, based on viewing estimates issued Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

CBS regained the overall lead, despite lower TV viewing levels Thursday -- its most-watched night -- because of Halloween. Still, with "The Simpsons" attracting its biggest premiere audience in five years and "24" far surpassing last year's average, Fox finished behind NBC among the younger demographics advertisers seek, leaving CBS and ABC in a third-place tie. (In an example of how local and national ratings can vary, the percentage of homes watching "24" in the Los Angeles viewing area was roughly 50% higher than the show's U.S. average.)

Fox's new dramas, meanwhile, are cause for concern. The network already canceled "Girls Club," and "Fastlane," "Firefly" and "John Doe" were all underwhelming last week.

Buoyed by "The Bachelor," which continues to gain ground on "The West Wing," ABC delivered its biggest audience this season. "NYPD Blue" also drew its highest rating in nearly a year, and "The George Lopez Show" retained 90% of the lead-in audience from "My Wife and Kids."

HBO's "The Sopranos" was the most watched cable offering, ranking third in its slot behind "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" and "Malcolm in the Middle."

-- Brian Lowry

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