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News >  Features

Films on pope fail to draw huge audience

David Bauder Associated Press

CBS bested ABC in last week’s competition between TV movies about the late Pope John Paul II, but the results hardly answered any network prayers.

The first part of CBS’ story, which starred actor Jon Voight, was seen by 7.5 million people on Sunday, according to Nielsen Media Research.

ABC’s two-hour movie, “Have No Fear: The Life of John Paul II,” was seen by 6.7 million people last Thursday. However, any program that’s beaten in the ratings by NBC’s “Joey” (7.3 million) doesn’t have much to brag about.

The mediocre results appear to justify the networks’ decisions to schedule the movies after the November ratings “sweeps” period ended.

While CBS kept alive its streak of not losing a week this television season, it was pushed hard by ABC. Four of the week’s five most popular prime-time programs, including a premium “Monday Night Football” face-off between undefeated Indianapolis and Pittsburgh, were on ABC.

ABC also won the week among the 18- to 49-year-old demographic that advertisers watch most keenly.

The top 10 shows for the week ending Sunday: “Desperate Housewives,” ABC, 25.5 million viewers; “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 23.2 million; “Monday Night Football: Pittsburgh at Indianapolis,” ABC, 22.6 million; “Lost,” ABC, 21.5 million; “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC, 20.6 million; “Survivor: Guatemala,” CBS, 19.8 million; “CSI: Miami,” CBS, 19.8 million; “NCIS,” CBS, 18.2 million; “NFL Monday Showcase,” ABC, 18.1 million; “Law & Order: SVU,” NBC, 17.5 million.

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