- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 19, 2003

‘Griffith’ boosts CBS

A dose of ol’-time nostalgia helped keep CBS on top last week, according to the Associated Press.

The network scored the three most popular shows last week, including a reunion of “The Andy Griffith Show” regulars.

That special, “The Andy Griffith Show Reunion: Back to Mayberry,” attracted 21.6 million people, Nielsen Media Research said Tuesday.

“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” to no one’s surprise, was the most-watched program once more, with an audience of 29.3 million.

With a sudden hole in the schedule for Sunday after dropping the controversial miniseries on former President Ronald Reagan, CBS put in a “CSI” rerun that was seen by 14 million.

A switch to November didn’t arrest the decline of the American Music Awards, a program that traditionally has been shown in midwinter. The show was seen by 12.8 million people Sunday evening on ABC, its smallest audience ever and a far cry from the 35 million who watched in 1993.

Diane Sawyer’s prime-time interview with Jessica Lynch was seen by 15.7 million people, Nielsen said.

For the week, CBS averaged 14.1 million viewers (9.2 rating, 15 share). NBC had 11.2 million (7.5, 12) and won the week among the advertiser-desired 18-to-49-year-old demographic. ABC was third with 10.4 million viewers (6.8, 11), Fox had 7.5 million (4.8, 8), the WB 4.3 million (2.9, 4), UPN 3.8 million (2.6, 4) and Pax TV 1.2 million (0.8, 1).

A ratings point represents 1,084,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation’s estimated 108.4 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

For the week of Nov. 10 through 16, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships were: “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 29.3 million; “Survivor: Pearl Islands,” CBS, 22.1 million; “The Andy Griffith Show Reunion: Back to Mayberry,” CBS, 21.6 million; “ER,” NBC, 20.7 million; and “Friends,” NBC, 20.2 million.

‘Jackson’ on hold

CBS is postponing its plan to broadcast the entertainment special “Michael Jackson Number Ones,” which was scheduled to air Wednesdayat 10 p.m.

Santa Barbara, Calif., prosecutors yesterday issued an arrest warrant for the superstar for “multiple” child molestation charges. Bail has been set at $3 million.

Mr. Jackson has denied the allegations, calling them “outrageous.”

“Given the gravity of the charges against Mr. Jackson, we believe it would be inappropriate at this time to broadcast an entertainment special,” the network said in a statement released yesterday.

“However, we are very mindful that Mr. Jackson is innocent until proven guilty. We will consider broadcasting the special after the due process of the legal system runs its course,” the statement continued.

A replacement for the special has not been announced.

King honors Kennedy

CNN’s Larry King begins a three-part series tonight to remember the 40th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination.

On “Larry King Live,” Mr. King interviews the last surviving member of those in the car with Mr. Kennedy when he was fatally shot — Nellie Connally, wife of former Texas Gov. John Bowden Connally. Mr. Connally, who served as governor from 1963 to 1969, died in 1993.

Tomorrow, reporter Bob Schieffer shares his days covering the Kennedy assassination as a journalist with the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram. Mr. King also checks in with the doctors who examined the president after the shooting.

CNN wraps its three-part look at the assassination Saturday by talking to Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, among others. The night also will feature past interviews with the former president.

“Larry King Live” airs nightly at 9.

‘Family’ reunion

Could Stewie and the boorish Griffin clan be poised for an unprecedented return to prime time?

Fox’s animated “Family Guy” debuted in 1999 after that year’s Super Bowl telecast and struggled through two low-rated seasons before the cancellation ax fell.

Then new media took over. Two DVDs featuring the completed episodes sold in bunches. The show’s Cartoon Network telecasts also proved to be that network’s biggest hit with adults.

Now USA Today reports Fox Television Group Chairman Sandy Grushow said his network will decide soon whether the show will be resurrected. The newspaper says as many as 35 new episodes could return by January 2005.

“Family Guy,” which follows patriarch Peter Griffin and his dysfunctional brood, tried the patience of many critics during its run. Many found its gags offensive, and the show wallowed in the proverbial gutter at times.

Dave salutes Clark

It seems you can’t run for a major political office these days unless you make the late-night talk-show rounds.

Tonight, Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark pays David Letterman a visit for his first foray into the humorous-talk-show wars.

Mr. Clark, a retired Army general, rose to national prominence as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander during the military action against Slobodan Milosevic in Kosovo. His military honors include the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry wheeled his hog onto “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” last week and got upstaged by Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. The character, a puppet voiced by Robert Smigel, wound up with the best one-liners.

“The Late Show With David Letterman” airs weeknights at 11:35 on CBS.

‘Frasier’ to stay?

Is the doctor really out?

NBC’s long-running “Frasier” limped into its 11th, and presumably final, year this fall under the firm assumption that the season would be its final television lap.

Now star Kelsey Grammer is being coy about the show’s demise on the talk-show circuit, and NBC executives have yet to issue an official cancellation notice.

Watching once-great shows struggle through their final years is always sad.

The quality of “Frasier” this season has proved uneven, with few moments worthy of the sitcom at its peak.

It would seem the time has come for the network to let the good doctor bow out with some dignity.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.


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