October 16, 1997 in Features

Baseball Playoffs Help Fox Catch More Viewers

Associated Press

Helped last week by coverage of the Major League Baseball playoffs, Fox continued to be the only major television network to see an increase in viewers during the dreary new television season.

Fox finished fourth in the Nielsen Media Research prime-time ratings, yet trailed first-place NBC by an average of only 2.2 million viewers.

Last week, Fox’s four top-rated shows were baseball playoff games, pushing its ratings up 7 percent this year over last fall. NBC, CBS and ABC have all seen declines since then.

Voting with their remote controls, TV viewers are giving a thumbs-down to many of the new shows the networks have introduced this fall.

For example, NBC’s “Union Square” may seem like a success since it was eighth in the ratings last week, but it had nearly 5 million fewer viewers than “Friends,” which directly precedes it on NBC’s Thursday schedule. ABC’s “Hiller and Diller” lost almost 7 million viewers from its lead-in, “Home Improvement.”

Although ABC’s “Dharma and Greg” had fewer viewers than either “Union Square” and “Hiller and Diller,” it is considered a hit because it had 2.4 million viewers more than its lead-in, “Spin City.”

For the week, NBC had a 9.8 rating and a 17 share, CBS had a 9.1 rating and 15 share, ABC had an 8.9 rating and 15 share, and Fox had an 8.1 rating and 14 share. UPN had a 3.4 rating and 5 share, and WB had a 3.0 rating and 5 share.

Here are prime-time ratings as compiled by Nielsen Media Research for Oct. 6-12. Top 10 listings include the week’s ranking, with rating for the week, season-to-date rankings in parentheses, and total homes. An “X” in parentheses denotes one-time-only presentation. A rating measures the percentage of the nation’s 97 million TV homes. Each ratings point represents 970,000 households.

1. (1) “ER,” NBC, 22.8, 22.1 million homes.

2. (2) “Seinfeld,” NBC, 20.1, 19.5 million homes.

3. (3) “Veronica’s Closet,” NBC, 18.3, 17.8 million homes.

4. (4) “Friends,” NBC, 16.7, 16.2 million homes.

5. (5) “Home Improvement,” ABC, 15.9, 15.4 million homes.

6. (8) “Touched By An Angel,” CBS, 14.9, 14.5 million homes.

7. (7) “NFL Monday Night Football: New England at Denver,” ABC, 13.9, 13.5 million homes.

8. (6) “Union Square,” NBC, 13.6, 13.2 million homes.

9. (12) “NYPD Blue,” ABC, 13.4, 13.0 million homes.

10. (15) “CBS Sunday Movie: Final Descent,” CBS, 12.9, 12.5 million homes.

11. (X) “Home Improvement,” ABC, 12.3, 11.9 million homes.

12. (20) “Hiller and Diller,” ABC, 12.1, 11.7 million homes.

12. (14) “60 Minutes,” CBS, 12.1, 11.7 million homes.

12. (18) “Soul Man,” ABC, 12.1, 11,7 million homes.

15. (16) “Drew Carey Show,” ABC, 11.6, 11.3 million homes.

16. “20/20 Friday,” ABC, 11.3, 11.0 million homes.

17. (27) “Ellen,” ABC, 10.9, 10.6 million homes.

18 (23) “Dateline NBC,” Monday NBC, 10.8, 10.5 million homes.

19. (18) “Law And Order,” CBS, 10.7, 10.4 million homes.

20. (17) “PrimeTime Live,” ABC, 10.6, 10.3 million homes.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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