'Bachelor' tops the night
While its "Talking to the Dead" special failed to draw a wide audience, ABC vaulted to a rare second-place finish in adults 18-49 for Monday night because of big numbers from the penultimate episode of its reality series "The Bachelor." NBC still took first with a 4.3 adult 18-49 rating and ABC had a 3.8. Fox and CBS logged a 3.6 apiece, based on preliminary Nielsen ratings. The second-to-last "Bachelor" scored the night's highest ratings, besting a rerun of "Everybody Loves Raymond" and a new "Becker" on CBS with a solid 5.6 among adults 18-49. The exiting "Ally McBeal" on Fox finished last with a weak 3.6 in the demo. At 10 p.m. ABC's "Contact: Talking to the Dead" collected a so-so 3.2 adult 18-49 rating, even with the family of slain Bonny Lee Bakley, wife of the recently arrested Robert Blake, in attendance. CBS's Friday night drama "First Monday" finished third, with its adult 18-49 rating nearly doubling from its season average to a still-weak 2.7. The average household rating and share for Monday night were: CBS 7.6/12, NBC 7.0/11, ABC 6.9/11 and Fox 5.8/9. On Sunday night, Fox's regular lineup was back in form this week, capturing every half-hour in adults 18-49 for an easy win. Fox posted a 4.4 adult 18-49 rating, while NBC trailed with a 3.4. ABC and CBS tied with a 2.8, based on preliminary Nielsen ratings. At 7 p.m. Fox's "Futurama" and "King of the Hill" produced a strong 3.4 in adults 18-49, more than doubling the rating from the first hour of ABC's "World Music Awards," which garnered only a 2.1 in total. The next hour was dominated by Fox's "The Simpsons" and "Malcolm in the Middle" duo, whose 5.7 adult 18-49 rating doubled that of runner-up "Weakest Link" on NBC. The fifth-to-last episode of Fox's "The X-Files" topped freshman upstart "Alias" by just three-tenths of a point in adults 18-49 to win the hour. CBS's TV movie "Two Against Time" attracted mostly older viewers, collecting only a slim 2.9 among adults 18-49. The average household rating and share for Sunday night were: CBS 9.0/15, NBC 6.3/10, Fox 5.3/9 and ABC 4.4/7.

AOL appoints new head of ad sales 
Hoping to restore some vitality to its gloomy advertising picture, America Online named a new head of ad sales yesterday. Bob Sherman, formerly president of ad sales for Time Warner Cable, replaces Robert Friedman, who occupied the post for only nine months. Friedman has been named senior vice president of corporate marketing for AOL Time Warner. Advertising has been a big stumbling block for America Online in the past year, with sales down more than 7 percent to $653 million in the fourth quarter of 2001. Moreover, more than a fifth of that total comes from other AOL Time Warner properties. In a sign of how dire things have become, Bob Pittman, co-COO of AOL Time Warner, resumed day-to-day operating responsibility for America Online earlier this month.

Rukeyser debut boosts CNBC's #'s big-time
For Louis Rukeyser, who is used to reaching about 3 million people, the audience for the inaugural edition of his new CNBC show was minuscule. For CNBC, however, it was gigantic. More than 600,000 people watched "Louis Rukeyser's Wall Street," which aired Friday night at 8:30 p.m. The turnout marked a 293 percent increase in CNBC's average audience for the time slot this year. That's not even counting the 15 PBS stations that carried rebroadcasts of the show despite the urgings of PBS president Pat Mitchell, who warned that listening to Rukeyser's "campaign of misinformation and misrepresentation" will "create more problems than it will solve."

Retiring Rosie will host 'Survivor' finale
To inject some star-power to a night that already includes a "Cosby" reunion on NBC and "The X-Files" series finale on FOX, CBS has signed on Rosie O'Donnell to host "Survivor: Marquesas - The Reunion." Broadcast live from Donald Trump's Wollman Rink in Central Park on May 19, with the New York skyline and 1,500 fans, alumni and sponsors of the first three "Survivors" as a backdrop, the one-hour behind-the-scenes special will immediately follow the announcement of the show's winner. It will also serve as something of a pre-sendoff gig for O'Donnell, who departs her daytime talk show on Wednesday, May 22. With the next "Survivor" expected to take place in Thailand, or possibly in the Amazon, host Jeff Probst is finding himself much in demand. "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" producer Buena Vista is reportedly talking with Probst about hosting the show's upcoming syndicated version. Probst, who honed his hosting skills on VH1's "Rock 'n' Roll Jeopardy," was in the running for the syndicated version of "The Weakest Link."

April 23, 2002 2002 Media Life

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