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Nbc Tops Nielsen Ratings, Leads In May Sweep

Take NBC’s hit Thursday troika of “ER,” “Friends” and “Seinfeld,” mix in a virus movie and the Judd family saga, and watch the network stroll away with the latest ratings victory.

NBC, the most-watched network for May 8-14, also has a comfortable lead in the May sweep, an intensive ratings measurement period used by local TV stations to set advertising rates.

According to figures Tuesday from Nielsen Media Research, NBC posted an 11.7 average rating and 20 share last week. ABC was second with an 11.2 rating, 19 share, followed by CBS with a 9.3 rating, 16 share.

Fox Broadcasting Co., which programs 15 of the 22 prime-time hours, earned a 6.6 rating and 11 share.

NBC had five of the top 10 programs with its three Thursdaynight series and two specials: “Naomi & Wynonna: Love Can Build a Bridge” (Part 1), about the country music duo, and “Virus,” based on Robin Cook’s novel.

ABC captured the other half of the top 10 and boasted the week’s mostwatched miniseries, “The Langoliers” (Part 1), based on the Stephen King book. It ranked fourth.

CBS’ top finisher was “Murder, She Wrote,” at No. 12. “The X-Files” was Fox’s winner, ranking 41st for the week.