CBS Finds Path to Youthful Viewers

Wednesday, July 12th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) — After years of fruitless efforts, CBS has found its Fountain of Youth.

Thanks to ``Survivor'' and the strong debut of ``Big Brother,'' the network was the Nielsens ratings winner among the 18-49 age demographic last week. It was the first time CBS won in that category since 1994, excluding weeks when the Olympics were televised.

CBS has long been penalized by the advertising community, which pays less for commercials on the network because it perceives the network's audience as old and set in their ways. Inroads with a younger demographic could be a financial boon for CBS.

The only drawback is CBS' accomplishment came during the week of July 4th, traditionally the least-watched television week all year.

``Survivor'' was the most popular show for the third straight week, reaching a high-water mark of 24.4 million viewers.

CBS' other reality show, ``Big Brother,'' had 22.4 million viewers for its debut last Wednesday. But the audience steadily eroded, sinking to 6.4 million for Saturday's edition. Initial reports are that ``Big Brother'' rebounded somewhat Monday night.

After two weeks of reruns, ``Who Wants to Be a Millionaire'' had a strong showing with 21.6 million viewers last Thursday, the night of its fifth million-dollar winner.

For the week, CBS averaged 9.7 million viewers in prime-time (6.8 rating, 13 share), according to Nielsen Media Research. ABC was second with 9.1 million viewers (6.2, 12), NBC had 8.1 million viewers (5.6, 11) and Fox had 6.2 million (4.2, 8).

UPN had 2.8 million viewers (2.0 rating, 4 share), the WB had 2.4 million viewers (1.7, 3) and Pax TV had 1 million viewers (0.8, 2).

NBC's ``Nightly News'' won the evening news ratings race with 8.8 million viewers (6.6 rating, 15 share). ABC's ``World News Tonight'' had 7.9 million viewers (6.0, 14), while the ``CBS Evening News'' had 7.3 million viewers (5.7, 13).

A rating point represents 1,008,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 100.8 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

For the week of July 3-9, the top 10 shows, their networks and ratings were:

``Survivor,'' CBS, 15.2; ``Who Wants to Be a Millionaire'' (Thursday), ABC, 14.0; ``Big Brother'' (Wednesday), CBS, 13.9; ``Who Wants to Be a Millionaire'' (Sunday), ABC, 12.7; ''48 Hours'' (Wednesday), CBS, 10.5; ''60 Minutes,'' CBS, 9.8; ''20/20 Downtown,'' ABC, 9.3; ``Who Wants to Be a Millionaire'' (Tuesday), ABC, 8.7; Law and Order,'' NBC, 8.5; ``Touched By an Angel,'' CBS, 8.4.


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