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TELEVISION & RADIO

Jackson interview tops chart

February 12, 2003|Brian Lowry

Michael Jackson's reputation as the king of sweeps remains intact, as ABC's two-hour "20/20" interview with the singer topped the rating charts despite some heavyweight competition, based on viewing estimates issued Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

NBC's "Friends" actually bested the first half-hour of the Jackson special, but the show steadily built to win the 9 p.m. hour versus TV's top-rated show, "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation." A follow-up "Primetime Thursday" retained much of that rating, resulting in the smallest audience ever for an original episode of "ER."

"The Bachelorette" delivered a strong performance as well, easily surpassing tune-in for "The West Wing" in its hour. ABC's highlights, however, were balanced by lowlights, with the new Monday-night dramas "Veritas: The Quest" and "Miracles" looking in need of the latter and "The Practice" suffering as it was sandwiched between them against Fox's "Joe Millionaire." The new "Dragnet" also cooled a bit in its second shift, as tune-in dropped 12% from its premiere.

Fox's "American Idol," meanwhile, is rubbing off on the scripted programs adjacent to it, as the network's "24," "That '70s Show" and "The Bernie Mac Show" all appeared to enjoy a ratings bump last week.

The first cable telecast of the NBA All-Star Game also resulted in record basketball ratings for TNT, which averaged 10.8 million viewers, with another 4.8 million watching the network's "All-Star Saturday Night" event featuring the slam-dunk competition.

-- Brian Lowry

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