Globes lift NBC to best week of season

By Tom Bierbaum

NEW YORK (Variety) - The Golden Globes have sent NBC into orbit, rocketing the network to first place in Jan. 18-24 primetime Nielsens with its highest weeklong rating and widest margin of victory in households since the NBA Playoffs last June.

Sunday's Golden Globes telecast propelled NBC to its first Sunday victory of the season and highest non-sports Sunday homes rating since ``Schindler's List'' on Feb. 23, 1997. Teamed with the network's usual Thursday dominance and the continued excellence of its new Friday drama ``Providence,'' NBC ruled the week in homes and most key demographic measures.

With Jan. 18-24 results in the books, Fox has re-taken second for the season in the key adults 18-49 demographic, dropping ABC to third. With its Super Bowl boost coming at the end of this week, Fox is now a good bet to hold that avidly sought runner-up position behind NBC for the rest of the season.

Last week ABC equaled its lowest-rated in-season household average ever, but finished the week ahead of projected levels. ABC managed third-place finishes for the week, just ahead of Fox in homes and tied with CBS in adults 18-49.

It was CBS' first week out of fourth place in the 18-49 demo since Oct. 5-11. Among last week's Eye-raisers were Monday's rallying regulars and the midseason additions ``60 Minutes II'' and ``Turks.''

Jan. 18-24 adults 18-49 averages were: NBC, a 6.2 rating, 17 share (down in rating by 48% vs. results for the same week last year, when NBC televised the Super Bowl); Fox, 5.2/14 (up 8%); ABC, 3.8/10 (down 10%) tied with CBS, 3.8/10 (up 27%); WB, 2.0/5 (up 11%); UPN, 1.2/3 (down 29%); Pax TV, a 0.3 rating.

NBC's weeklong rating and margin of victory in the 18-49 demo were its best since premiere week last September.


The Golden Globes swept Sunday's Nielsen honors. The kudocast topped its breakthrough 1998 homes rating by 1%, while slipping a minor 5% in adults 18-49, despite the year-ago tidal wave of interest generated by ``Titanic.''

NBC's Globes coverage is the first program to beat an original ``X- Files'' in adults 18-49 since last April's ``Merlin.''

The WB's ``Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane'' is looking like a satisfactory addition to that Sunday lineup, but ``Unhappily Ever After'' may not be clicking at 9:30. Last week, ``Unhappily'' dropped to its lowest firstrun rating since Oct. 26, 1997.

The best news for Fox Sunday was a 6% build by ``That '70s Show'' on its 18-49 lead-in from a rerun ``Simpsons.''


Fox won the night by 3 shares in adults 18-49, while CBS edged ahead in homes despite two hours of reruns. A firstrun ``Martial Law'' kicked in its best adults 25-54 rating since premiere week.

NBC's world pro skating championships settled for what's apparently their lowest primetime marks ever, a two-night 8.1/15 in homes. That's a 27% plunge vs. last year.


NBC's ``Providence'' won its slot in both homes and adults 18-49 for the third time, making it the first new drama since ``ER'' in the fall of 1994 to win both categories with each of its first three telecasts.

``Providence'' impressively held its full 18-49 rating of the previous week, leading its hour by 5 shares in that demographic.

ABC still tied NBC for the night in adults 18-49, as the latter's skating crashed 30% below year-ago 18-49 figures.

CBS earned its highest Friday regular-schedule male demographics since Jan. 24, 1997. ``Nash Bridges'' also put the cuffs on its best rerun homes rating ever and ``The Magnificent Seven'' rode off with the best demos of its current run.

Fox's rallying ``Millennium'' hit another season-high rating.


CBS' premiering ``Turks'' couldn't match 9 p.m. slot predecessor ``Diagnosis Murder'' in homes and adults 18-49, but apprehended solid increases in key male demographics.


ABC retained the Wednesday lead, while CBS got a solid second performance from ``60 Minutes II.'' The newly launched newsmagazine slipped just 5% in adults 18-49 from its previous-week premiere, despite a 38% drop for its lead-in hour.

NBC's Wednesday comedies finished an embarrassing sixth in that 9-10 p.m. hour in adults 18-49. ``Encore! Encore!'' has been yanked and ``Lateline'' will re-surface on NBC's Tuesday team later this season.


NBC earned the night's best State of the Union numbers, though combined results on all networks were down about 15% from last year.

Fox stunned the Big Three by winning the night's lone hour of entertainment fare in adults 18-49. Strong mid-season addition ``The PJs'' helped, building by a solid 15% on its 18-49 lead-in from ``King of the Hill.'' ABC won the hour in homes but fumbled the 18-49 lead with a special ``Brother's Keeper.''

With the Big Four focusing on the Clinton's speech, UPN got a nice Tuesday start from ``Malcolm & Eddie'' and ``Between Brothers,'' which teamed to post the network's second-best homes rating that hour in 10 months. At the WB, ``Buffy the Vampire Slayer'' spiked, with its second-best 18-49 rating ever, and ``Felicity'' perked to its highest numbers since premiering Sept. 29.


CBS led Jan. 18 results in homes with its highest regular-schedule Monday rating since May 12, 1997, while Fox won in adults 18-49 with a record ``Ally McBeal.''

Each household rating point represents an estimated 994,000 homes, or 1% of the country's TV households. Each adults 18-49 rating point represents 1.239 million viewers, 1% of the U.S. total. A share is the same sort of percentage, except it measures only the homes or viewers watching TV during the time slot involved.