ABC and CBS split with 'Football' and sitcoms
ABC won Monday in both the adult 18-49 and household ratings on the strength of “Monday Night Football.” But the night was split between ABC and CBS. CBS took the first half with its sitcom lineup. “Everybody Loves Raymond,” in fact, was the night’s highest-rated show in both demos. The network started to slip with “Becker” at 9:30 p.m., which lost 25 percent of “Raymond’s” adult 18-49 lead-in rating. And things got worse at 10 p.m. CBS’s “Family Law” came in a distant third place in its time slot, with a 3.7 rating that was 49 percent lower than ABC’s rating for football and 21 percent lower than NBC’s rating for “Crossing Jordan.” ABC suffered from a weak showing by “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” which came in second place among households at 8 p.m. but was in fourth place among adults 18-49. NBC’s “Weakest Link” beat ABC’s game show by 11 percent in the demo. ABC averaged a 5.8, adult 18-49, rating and a 10.7 household rating and 17 share, based on preliminary Nielsen ratings. CBS had a 5.2 and 10.3/16. Fox had a 5.0 and 7.0/11, while NBC was in fourth place in both demos with a 4.0 and a 6.9/11.

More guff for ABC over lingerie special
ABC is catching heavy flak from groups that got their panties in a twist over the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, which aired on the network last week in primetime. The Parents Television Council says it was inappropriate for younger viewers, the National Organization for Women says it was exploitative, and the Federal Communications Commission is considering whether the special violated its decency standards. Altogether it probably amounts to more trouble than it’s worth for a broadcast that drew about 12.3 million viewers, only a tad more than the 11 million "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" averages in the same slot. Even the models themselves are reportedly unhappy with the network after learning that some of their backstage activities were captured by an ABC camera crew hiding behind a two-way mirror.

It's a girl! Rupe, 70, is a papa again
Rupert Murdoch has many big things to be thankful for—his ownership of a globe-spanning media empire comes to mind—but the newest one weighs only nine pounds. Murdoch, 70, is once again father to a newborn after his wife, Wendi, 33, gave birth to a girl on Monday evening. The News Corp. chairman already has four children who are old enough to be having little ones of their own: Prudence, Elisabeth, Lachlan and James. He is currently on his third marriage after divorcing previous spouse Anna, to whom he was wed for 31 years, in 1998.

Hustler founder sues to get battlefield access
While media agencies everywhere battle the tight-lipped Defense Department for information on military maneuvers in Afghanistan, Hustler publisher Larry Flynt has taken his demand for more press access before a judge. Flynt has sued the Defense Department for the right to send reporters to the front lines in formerly-Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. The lawsuit asks a federal court in Washington to compel the DoD into relaxing its restrictions on the media. “The actions of American soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan are of great interest and concern to American citizens,'' his attorney said in the lawsuit, filed last week. The Pentagon nixed Flynt’s request for his writers to travel with troops on combat missions earlier this month, stating that “the highly dangerous and unique nature” of the undertaking prevented any such cooperation.

'Invisible Man' disappears from Sci Fi Channel
Like the summer casualty “That’s My Bush” on Comedy Central, the Sci Fi Channel’s “The Invisible Man” has bit the dust, a victim of its own outsized budget. The series debuted to the highest rating in the young channel’s history and doubled Sci Fi’s primetime average during its first 13 weeks on the air in the Friday 8 p.m. time slot. But when the network moved the $1 million-per-episode special-effects-heavy action series to Monday nights at 9 p.m., its cable rating fell from an average of 1.4 to 1.1. "Invisible Man's" numbers hovered around a 1.0 by the time it returned to Friday in March of this year. Five episodes will be burned off in January and February on the Sci Fi Channel, while episodes in syndication will continue to run until August.

November 21, 2001 © 2001 Media Life

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