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Ritter tribute tops ratings

September 18, 2003|From Reuters

An ABC television tribute to its late comedy star John Ritter led all Tuesday night shows as the most watched program in prime time, Nielsen Media Research reported Wednesday.

The one-hour special, "John Ritter: Life of Laughter," averaged more than 14 million viewers, far and away the night's biggest audience. It featured highlights from the career of the former "Three's Company" star and testimonials from his peers, producers and friends.

Ritter, 54, died last Thursday of a previously undetected heart ailment after falling ill on the set while filming the fourth episode of the upcoming second season of "8 Simple Rules."

ABC announced Tuesday the series would return as planned with its Sept. 23 season premiere, followed by two other episodes completed before Ritter's death. The network will then air reruns until fresh episodes incorporating the sudden death of Ritter's character into the story line are ready.

The second-most-watched program of the night, averaging 11.2 million viewers, was the Whoopi Goldberg comedy "Whoopi," the new NBC show going up against "8 Simple Rules" on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. "Big Brother" on CBS was No. 3 with 9.9 million.

From Reuters

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