- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 14, 2005

‘West’ nets 50-plus set

TNT is riding high in the ratings saddle with its six-part miniseries “Into the West,” but the new show isn’t attracting younger viewers, notes Reuters News Agency.

Friday’s two-hour premiere episode at 8 p.m. drew 6.5 million viewers, and 9.6 million, overall, when combined with the number who tuned in for the repeat broadcast at 10 p.m. Millions more likely tuned in for replays Saturday and Sunday, the network said. Each of the six weekly installments will get a triple play over the course of their respective weekends.

Yet while “West” opened strong enough to top Friday’s total viewer haul in prime time among all broadcasters (with the exception of NBC), the drama did little to lower TNT’s median age. Nearly three-quarters of the viewers for the 8 p.m. premiere were older than 50.

Youthful viewers are what advertisers crave, so the strong numbers come as a mixed blessing for TNT. The network also made a point of reaching out to younger viewers when marketing “West” via an aggressive campaign that focused on young stars such as Keri Russell (the WB’s “Felicity”) and the romantic element of life in rugged 19th century America.

Still, the ratings and initial interest come as a validation for “West,” a miniseries with an estimated budget of $100 million. Award-winning filmmaker Steven Spielberg is attached to the project as executive producer through DreamWorks Television.

Can’t stop ‘Dancing’

More television viewers were interested in B-list stars learning how to dance and Diane Sawyer interviewing Brad Pitt than either of the first two games of the National Basketball Association finals.

Fortunately for ABC, the network televised all of those events.

The summer series “Dancing With the Stars” topped the Nielsen Media Research ratings in its second week on the air, with 15.1 million people tuning in, Associated Press reports.

Pro basketball’s premier event is a flop so far, with 10.6 million people watching the San Antonio Spurs beat the Detroit Pistons in the first game on Thursday, and 10.7 million seeing the same result in Sunday’s Game 2.

Meanwhile, a “Primetime Live” special with Miss Sawyer pressing Mr. Pitt on his love life — and his acting — hit the Nielsen top five with 11.2 million viewers.

Helped by a “Two and a Half Men” marathon on June 6, CBS won the week with an average of 7.9 million viewers. ABC had 6.8 million, and easily won among the 18-to-49-year-old demographic. NBC had 6.5 million viewers, Fox 5.3 million, UPN 2.8 million, the WB 2.3 million and Pax TV 580,000.

For the week of June 6 through 12, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships were: “Dancing With the Stars,” ABC, 15.1 million; “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 12.7 million; “Two and a Half Men,” CBS, 11.5 million; “Two and a Half Men” (June 6 at 10 p.m.), CBS, 11.4 million; and “Primetime Live Special Edition,” ABC, 11.2 million.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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