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TELEVISION & RADIO

CBS starts sweeps on right note

November 13, 2002|Brian Lowry

Receiving a lift from the CMA Awards, CBS recorded its sixth victory in seven weeks during the first full week within the November rating sweeps, while election-night coverage on competing channels helped open the door for the WB's "Smallville" to soar to a new ratings high, based on viewing estimates issued Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

The CMA Awards for country music drew a nearly identical audience total compared with last year, despite stiffer-than-usual competition from ABC, as "The Bachelor" provided a strong lead-in to a special edition of "20/20" featuring the Osbournes. The interview delivered ABC's highest series rating in that hour in over two years, better than doubling the audience for the regular occupant, the new drama "MDs."

CBS' Sunday movie, by contrast, continues to post subpar results, the latest coming for "Master Spy: The Robert Hanssen Story," a two-part production that concludes this Sunday. Fox also has reason to be concerned about "Malcolm in the Middle," which -- since moving to "The X-Files' " old time slot at 9 p.m. -- has drawn mediocre ratings.

On the plus side, "24" fell a modest 12% from its heavily promoted commercial-free premiere despite the record tune-in for "Smallville" in its time slot.

NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" drew its biggest audience this season Friday, even surpassing the original "Law & Order" -- which NBC has dubbed "the mother ship" -- in the L.A. viewing area.

-- Brian Lowry

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