The ratings validated the obvious: When there’s a big news story, late-night viewers turn in big numbers to ABC’s “Nightline.”
For the week ending April 23, which included three nights of shows on the Oklahoma City bombing, the 15-year-old news show posted its highest weekly ratings since April 1992 when the program followed the Los Angeles riots.
For the week of the bombing (it happened the morning of April 19), “Nightline” generated a 7.0 rating (percentage of the nation’s 95.4 million TV homes) and a 19 share (percentage of the sets in use).
Actually, due to the O.J. Simpson trial, “Nightline” has been on a roll since the start of the year, averaging a 5.6 rating/15 share.
The week of the bombing, “Nightline” easily bested its late-night competitors. NBC’s “Tonight Show” with Jay Leno averaged a 5.1 rating/14 share for its first half-hour, which competes with “Nightline,” while CBS’ “Late Show” with David Letterman averaged a 5.0 rating/13 share during the same half hour.
‘Gump’ sales at 7 million
Gump sells as Gump does. Consumers purchased about 7 million videocassettes of Paramount Home Video’s “Forrest Gump” in the first four days it was available last week, according to PHV president Eric Doctorow. It is one of the biggest opening weekends ever for a home video title.
‘MST3000’ movie due in fall
The “Mystery Science Theater 3000” movie is nearing completion and looks likely for a fall theatrical opening. Writer/star Michael J. Nelson joins his robot companions Tom Servo and Crow, as the trio riff on the 1955 sci-fier “This Island Earth.”
In the Comedy Central cable show, the three are exiled in space, where they watch really bad movies and deliver smarty-pants running commentary back at the screen, their three heads silhouetted against the movie’s flickering image. That’s the same concept for the big screen “MST3K,” too.
Rights for “This Island Earth” were secured by “MST3K” producers, following a lot of to-and-from with Universal Pictures.