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Newsmagazines Top Nielsen Ratings

August 18, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Comedian Drew Carey’s summer job is proving a success: his improvisational comedy series ``Whose Line is it Anyway″ scored higher ratings during its second week than its first.

ABC’s Wednesday night show even beat ``The Drew Carey Show″ in the ratings last week, although Carey’s regular series is in reruns.

NBC narrowly won the week, however, with a 6.6 prime-time average rating and a 12 share, Nielsen Media Research said Tuesday. CBS had a 6.5 rating and 12 share, ABC had a 5.6 rating and 11 share, Fox had a 4.9 rating and 9 share, the WB was at 2.4 and 4 and UPN 1.8 and 3.

The 7.9 rating for ``Whose Line is it Anyway″ compares to the 7.6 rating it had for its premiere. The only prime-time programs to rate higher last week were either newsmagazines, movies or part of NBC’s traditionally strong Thursday night lineup.

The show isn’t on ABC’s fall schedule, but its success means the summertime series will likely be seen again when cold winds blow.

``We’re thrilled with the performance of the show,″ ABC spokeswoman Susan Sewell said. ``Although there’s no official decision on whether it will be a replacement series, that’s what we hope for when we try out a show during the summer months.″

Carey’s show beat NBC’s summer series, ``Stressed Eric,″ which had a 5.1 rating for its premiere. ABC’s other summertime series, ``Maximum Bob,″ saw its ratings fall from 8.1 on its premiere to 6.5 last week.

The three most-watched shows last week were newsmagazines, topped by CBS’s ``60 Minutes.″

Television viewers continued to turn to cable during the summer rerun season. TBS said its Sunday night showing of ``The American President″ was seen in nearly 5 million households, the largest audience ever for a theatrical movie on basic cable.

ABC’s ``World News Tonight″ won the evening news competition with a 7.0 rating and 16 share. NBC’s ``Nightly News″ had a 6.9 rating and 16 share, although it had slightly more viewers than ABC. The ``CBS Evening News″ had a 6.7 rating and 16 share.

A rating point represents 980,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation’s estimated 98 million TV homes. Share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

For the week of August 10-16, the top 10 shows, their networks and ratings were:

``60 Minutes,″ CBS, 11.4; ``Dateline NBC-Tuesday,″ NBC, 10.4; ``Dateline NBC-Wednesday,″ NBC, 9.7; ``Just Shoot Me,″ NBC, 9.7, ``ER,″ NBC, 9.4; ``Seinfeld,″ NBC, 9.3; ``20/20-Friday,″ ABC, 9.2; ``48 Hours,″ CBS, 9.1; ``″20/20-Monday,″ ABC, 8.7; ``Touched By an Angel,″ CBS, 8.6.

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