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Football Pushes Abc To The Top

Nearly 25 million Americans embraced the return of “Monday Night Football,” giving ABC an easy victory in the weekly prime-time ratings contest.

The week of Sept. 4-10 was also good to the Fox Broadcasting Co., according to Tuesday’s Nielsen ratings. The Fox network’s Emmy Awards telecast finished sixth.

Overall, ABC had a 9.6 rating and a 17 percent share of the TV audience; NBC was second, with an 8.5 rating, 15 share; and CBS finished two points behind the lead, with a 7.6 rating, 13 share.

The Fox network, programming only 15 of the 22 prime-time hours, climbed to a 7.2 rating, 12 share, well above its season-to-date average, by virtue of the Emmys telecast.

Television’s highest-rated new show was Fox’s workplace comedy “The Crew,” which placed 36th. The highest-rated premiere, however, was Fox’s “The Preston Episodes,” which tied for 72nd place with “CBS Reports” and “Picket Fences.”

Here are the top 10 shows, their networks and ratings:

“NFL Monday Night Football,” ABC, 17.1; “Seinfeld,” NBC, 16.6; “Home Improvement,” ABC, 16.2; “Mad About You - Special,” NBC, 15.5; “ER,” NBC, 13.1; “Emmy Awards,” Fox, 12.4; “Friends,” NBC, 12.3; “Hope & Gloria,” NBC, 11.9; “60 Minutes,” CBS, 11.8; “Grace Under Fire,” ABC, 11.7.

Return of ‘NYPD Blue’ delayed

ABC announced this week that Steven Bochco’s “NYPD Blue” won’t debut until Oct. 24, and that three of the Tuesday nights (at 10) leading up till then will be filled by Bochco’s new “Murder One” series. “Murder One,” a legal drama that will track one case all season, will move to its regular Thursday 10 p.m. slot on Oct. 12. The show premieres next Tuesday night.

HBO listens to Leno wish

“Tonight” host Jay Leno might just get his Emmy wish after all.

A spokeswoman for HBO said Monday that the network “will note Jay’s success in some way” in its upcoming movie based on New York Times writer Bill Carter’s book “The Late Shift.” The book documented Leno’s ascent to “Tonight” host and and David Letterman’s move to CBS.

Sunday night, Leno picked up the variety-show Emmy award, and in the process beat out rival Letterman, whose “Late Show” has dominated until this summer. “I guess HBO is going to have to shoot another ending,” Leno said in his acceptance speech.

Backstage, Leno said the comment wasn’t “a shot” at HBO or Letterman, but that he “was just being silly.”

Nevertheless, his comments come after he captured his second straight late-night ratings win, and his fifth in the past eight weeks.

The HBO movie recently completed production. The ending is a scene with Letterman deciding to go to CBS.

But, according to the HBO spokeswoman, what has happened since Letterman jumped to CBS will be handled in some fashion at the film’s end, although in exactly what form is still to be determined.

In the past, HBO has sometimes updated viewers with a graphic that appears at the end of a film before the credits roll. The movie is expected to air in late January or in February.


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