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In a week of reruns, CBS is a 'Survivor'

March 12, 2003|Brian Lowry

With the February sweeps over, broadcasters served up a number of what they like to call "encore telecasts," leaving an original episode of "Survivor" atop the ratings heap with that franchise's biggest audience in a year, based on viewing estimates issued Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

CBS won its 18th week out of 24 this season in overall viewing, despite dreadful ratings Sunday for a nostalgic behind-the-scenes look at the 1960s series "Batman," after a similar "Gilligan's Island" movie fared well last year.

Even with tepid tune-in for "Married by America," meanwhile, Fox remained first among young adult viewers thanks to "American Idol," improving its audience by more than 30% versus the corresponding week last year. "Oliver Beene," which follows "The Simpsons," also drew Fox's biggest premiere audience for a sitcom since the now-defunct "Titus" three years ago.

Proving that not all reruns are created equal, NBC repeated all three versions of "Law & Order" on Saturday and won the night -- all the more impressive considering the show's reruns on TNT were the most-watched drama on cable last week other than HBO's "Six Feet Under."

TNT, in fact, was the week's most-watched basic cable network, followed by Fox News Channel. The former was buoyed by Sunday's telecast of the Screen Actors Guild Awards, which averaged 4.8 million viewers -- its highest rating since TNT began televising it in 1998, up 28% from last year.

-- Brian Lowry

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Prime-Time TV Ratings

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