Second helpings of NBC’s Thursday night hits “Friends,” “Seinfeld” and “ER” finished 1-2-3 to put NBC in a tie with ABC in the prime-time ratings race.
For the week of Aug. 14-20, ABC and NBC each earned an 8.5 rating and a 16 percent share of the TV audience. CBS was nine-tenths of a ratings point back, with a 7.6 rating and a 14 share, according to Tuesday’s Nielsen ratings.
Fox Broadcasting Co., which programmed 16 of the 22 prime-time hours, earned a 5.2 rating and 10 share. In all, the four networks attracted just 56 percent of the TV audience.
A single ratings point equals 954,000 TV homes, or 1 percent of the nation’s 95.4 million television households. Share is the percentage of sets in use that are tuned to a given network during a specific time period.
Here are the Top 10 shows, their networks and ratings: “Friends,” NBC, 15.2; “Seinfeld,” NBC, 14.6; “ER,” NBC, 14.1; “Grace Under Fire,” ABC, 12.7; “Home Improvement,” ABC, 12.7; “Mad About You - Special,” NBC, 12.1; “Coach,” ABC, 12.O; “Dave’s World,” CBS, 11.5; “PrimeTime Live,” ABC, 11.5; and “60 Minutes,” CBS, 11.5.
HBO gets Letterman sitcom
David Letterman’s company will produce a comedy pilot for HBO.
“Emmett & Earl” is about two guys running a failing storage facility in 1950s Pittsburgh. Production begins in New York later this year. No cast yet. Adam Resnick, a “Late Night” writer, is creator.
In other Letterman news, CBS insiders label as “pure speculation” reports that Letterman will follow his agent, Mike Ovitz, to ABC when his CBS contract expires in 1996. Ovitz last week was named president of Disney, new owner of CapCities/ ABC.
Were Letterman to jump ship, ABC would bump Ted Koppel’s “Nightline” an hour later, to 12:35 a.m. If that happened, “Ted would quit,” says an ABC source close to Koppel. “When he’s at the most successful point in his career, with a 15-year track record, why would he want fewer viewers?”
PBS fund-raising up
The Public Broadcasting Service Tuesday reported very preliminary figures for its August fund-raising efforts that suggest pledge money could be up as much as 32 percent over last year in 52 markets that were also surveyed a year ago. PBS cautions, however, that the increase will probably drop when the smaller precincts have reported.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is to receive $275 million in fiscal ‘96.
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