- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Olympic glory

The Americans dominated the Summer Olympics medal count, and NBC did the same with the network competition over the past two-plus weeks.

The games so thoroughly conquered the ratings landscape for 17 days that NBC won every half-hour in prime time against its broadcast rivals, Nielsen Media Research told Associated Press.

An average of 24.6 million people watched the games each evening. That was a 14 percent increase over the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

Viewers showed a few signs of boredom last week, as the final five Olympic telecasts failed to beat that average. Sunday’s closing ceremony was seen by 19.6 million people.

Thirteen of the most-watched non-Olympics programs last week were on CBS, including the network’s answer to the games. The fifth edition of “Amazing Race” has been a summer success after years of pleasing more critics than fans.

NBC averaged 22 million prime-time viewers last week (13.7 rating, 23 share). CBS was a distant second with 7.4 million (5.0, 9). ABC had 4.5 million (1.6, 3), Fox 3.2 million (2.9, 5), UPN 2.5 million (1.8, 3), the WB 2.3 million (1.6, 3) and Pax TV 730,000 (0.5, 1).

A ratings point represents 1.084 million 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 Aug. 23 through 29, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships were: “Summer Olympics” (Monday), NBC, 25.9 million; “Summer Olympics” (Tuesday), NBC, 25 million; “Summer Olympics” (Wednesday), NBC, 24.3 million; “Summer Olympics” (Thursday), NBC, 21.5 million; “Summer Olympics” (Friday), NBC, 20.1 million.

Smits’ next move

Jimmy Smits’ tenure on NBC’s “The West Wing” could be a short one.

The veteran actor, star of “L.A. Law” and later “NYPD Blue,” will jump from his “Wing” duties this coming season to his own series for ABC, Associated Press reports.

Mr. Smits also will produce other programs for ABC as part of the deal.

“Jimmy’s a one-of-a-kind star, and we feel fortunate that he’s decided to once again be part of the family,” said Stephen McPherson, president of ABC Primetime Entertainment.

Through his El Sendero Productions, Mr. Smits will serve as executive producer of shows that could air on ABC or other outlets owned by the Walt Disney Co.

NBC announced last week that Mr. Smits will play a three-term member of Congress from Houston who has “presidential aspirations” in the upcoming season of the acclaimed political drama.

Sally Jessy hits the Web

Sally Jessy Raphael just keeps talking, even though her long-running daytime talk show is no more.

Miss Raphael has found a new home on the Internet at www.sallyjr.com.

The veteran radio and television chatter hosts a daily talk show on the Web.

The hourlong webcast lets her rap with family, friends and special guests. Also along for the ride is her husband of 35 years, Karl Soderlund.

Listeners can submit questions via the site.

“The Internet has changed the way most people consume media. Even though I am inviting fans into my home, they are also inviting me into theirs,” Miss Raphael says.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.


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