NBC’s powerful Thursday night lineup captured half of television’s Top 10 spots, pushing the network to the top of the weekly Nielsen ratings.
NBC narrowly edged ABC as the most-watched network for March 6-12 with an 11.1 average rating and 18 share, according to figures released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.
ABC posted an 11.0 rating and 18 share - enough to retain its position as the top-rated network for the 1994-95 season with five weeks left.
CBS had a 9.5 rating, 16 share. Fox Broadcasting Co., which programs 15 of the 22 prime-time hours, earned a 7.8 rating, 13 share.
One ratings point equals 954,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation’s 95.4 million TV homes. Share is the percentage of sets tuned to a network during a specific time period.
Of four new series debuting last week, “Hope & Gloria” led the pack as it made the most of its choice Thursday slot with a seventh-place finish.
CBS’ “The George Wendt Show,” starring the former “Cheers” barfly as host of a radio talk show, placed 34th overall but won its Wednesday time period.
Another new CBS comedy, “The Office,” starring Valerie Harper, was 56th out of 101 prime-time shows but also won its time period on Saturday.
“VR.5,” a new science fiction drama, teamed up with Fox’s hit series “The X-Files” to give the network its best-ever Friday night ratings. “VR.5” ranked No. 72 for the week; “X-Files” was 35th.
The return of “Thunder Alley,” the Ed Asner sitcom staking out a new Tuesday time slot, snared 10th place for ABC.
Here are the top 10 shows, their networks and ratings:
“ER,” NBC, 24.2; “Seinfeld,” NBC, 20.7; “Friends,” NBC, 20.0; “Grace Under Fire,” ABC, 17.6; “Home Improvement,” ABC, 17.6; “Home Improvement” (special), ABC, 17.0; “Hope & Gloria,” NBC, 16.3; “Mad About You,” NBC, 15.8; “60 Minutes,” CBS, 15.7; and “Thunder Alley,” ABC, 14.3.
‘Lion King’ truly king
In less than two weeks of the mostballyhooed release in home-video history, Disney says more than 26 million copies of “The Lion King” were sold, making it the best-selling video of all time. Sales were something like 23 per second.
“The Lion King’s” astronomical video sales numbers - $450 million in less than two weeks, or more than the movie’s total U.S. box-office take in nine months - are just the latest record-breaking returns from a profit-generating juggernaut. Since “The Lion King” opened in theaters last summer, the movie has piled up more than $740 million at box offices worldwide, making it the world’s highest-grossing film of 1994 and the second-highest of all time. Sales of the Grammy-winning soundtrack (which, by the way, was 1994’s topselling soundtrack) and licensed merchandise have topped the $1 billion mark, Disney says.
With “The Lion King’s” revenues generating a jet stream of zeroes, there are all sorts of giant numbers flying around. Here’s a selection:
tapes sold in first two weeks of video release.
$ revenue during first two weeks of video release.
1: rank all-time in video sales.
$ domestic boxoffice revenue.
$ international box-office revenue.
2: rank all-time in international box-office revenue (“Jurassic Park” is No. 1).
$ merchandise sales revenue.
$ average amount spent on “The Lion King” (at theaters or on video) by each man, woman and child in America.
8: number of times total “Lion King” movie, video and merchandise revenues would wrap around the world if set down along the equator as a trail of dollar bills.
(Sources: Disney, Exhibitor Relations Co.)
White wins Soul Train award
Love moaner Barry White still has the touch. White picked up two Soul Train Awards, including song of the year and best male album on Monday night.
He showed the young ‘uns how it’s done, as the music from his acclaimed “The Icon Is Love” album beat out multiplatinum acts like Boyz II Men, R. Kelly and Luther Vandross.
Boyz II Men didn’t go home empty-handed, however, as the foursome added two Soul Train Awards to their mantle that already has five Grammys and six American Music Awards.
Anita Baker was the other multiple winner at the ninth annual awards show at the Shrine Auditorium. She picked up two for R&B; single (female) and R&B; album (female) with “Rhythm of Love.”
Hip-hop stylist Brandy, who performed her song “I Wanna Be Down” from her self-titled debut album with MC Lyte and Yo-Yo, won the best new artist award against a tough field that included multinomination party rappers 69 Boyz and R. Kelly protege Aaliyah.
Kelly himself, with one of the most successful urban records in some time, made up for a poor Grammy showing with a win for best R&B; single with “Bump N’ Grind,” while Sounds of Blackness took the bow for best gospel album for the critically praised “Africa to America: The Journey of the Drum.”
Queen Latifah, whose popular “Living Single” Fox show has given her a much wider appeal than her rap music ever did, got one of the biggest hands of the evening when she picked up her Entertainer of the Year prize. She was casual about her new level of fame, telling the press backstage, “I don’t have to do any backflips for you guys.”
Diana Ross, who received the Heritage Award, brought sizzle to the show and certainly the largest entourage. She came with her kids, Berry Gordy Jr. and what seemed like 50 bodyguards and assistants.
Jagger forms film firm
In the latest instance of entertainment industry superstars joining forces to form filmmaking ventures, rock icon Mick Jagger and “Forrest Gump” co-producer Steve Tisch have formed a production company.
The leader of the Rolling Stones closed the deal with one of the key players behind the best picture nominee two weeks ago. A few days earlier, Jagger’s company, Jagged Films, set up shop in Tisch’s offices. And the duo are in the process of registering the name of their joint venture, Lip Service.
“We get along and we have similar taste,” Tisch said. “I’m at a point in my career where having fun making movies is pretty high up there in my list of priorities, and that means being less motivated by the deal and more by who I will be working with. I also think there’s real magic about Mick Jagger that will enhance our ability to attract actors, writers, directors and material to this venture.”
The new company has no projects lined up yet, but a priority will be developing a film about the music business, Tisch said.
“The projects with Steve are going to be mainstream but eccentric,” Jagger said. “I’m not going to define them any more than that because we have yet to define them ourselves. They’re not going to be art films.”