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TELEVISION & RADIO

Baseball is Fox's one big hit

October 30, 2002|Brian Lowry

Even with ratings down sharply compared with last year, five World Series games clearly put Fox in last week's winner's circle, based on viewing estimates issued Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

Not surprisingly, viewing surged for the deciding seventh game but still fell 21% short of last year's record Arizona-New York finale, which played against the Sept. 11-delayed Emmy Awards telecast.

Despite heightened tune-in for baseball, Fox's two nights of entertainment programming struggled. The new David E. Kelley drama "Girls Club" premiered fifth in its time slot, and "Boston Public" was down last Monday compared with 2001, while the network drew its lowest Friday rating this season for the new dramas "Firefly" and "John Doe." Part of that had to do with stronger ratings for ABC, which aired the perennial special "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" and "America's Funniest Home Videos."

NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" also delivered its highest rating this fall, while the red-hot "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" drew a staggering 25 million viewers with a rerun Thursday, easily beating the World Series.

Although the World Series drew its biggest audiences on the West Coast -- including Super Bowl-sized ratings in L.A. and San Francisco -- competing networks aired repeats of many established series rather than waste original episodes opposite baseball in other time zones.

-- Brian Lowry

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