'Frasier' leaves on top of ratings

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Frasier Crane can always say that he went out on top.

The series finale of "Frasier" on NBC was television's most popular show last week, with 25.2 million people watching the psychiatrist make a surprise flight to Chicago in search of love.

While it was less than half of the audience for the "Friends" send-off a week earlier, "Frasier" can still say it beat television's No. 1 show, "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," which had 22.5 million viewers Thursday night, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Two appeals to nostalgia on CBS, "The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited" and a Carol Burnett highlights special, both finished in Nielsen's Top 20.

Yet there was one event viewers weren't interested in revisiting. CBS' remake of the movie "Helter Skelter" about Charles Manson's murderous spree was seen by a paltry 9.3 million viewers.

Another sweeps month special, NBC's "The Mentalist," was an even bigger flop with 6.2 million viewers, Nielsen said.

CBS earned a narrow victory for the week, averaging 11.8 million viewers (7.8 rating, 13 share). NBC had 11.2 million viewers (7.6, 13). Fox had 9.2 million viewers (5.8, 10), and narrowly beat NBC among the key 18-to-49-year-old demographic.

Struggling ABC had 8.3 million viewers (5.4, 9), the WB 4.1 million (2.8, 5), UPN 3.3 million (2.3, 4) and Pax TV 860,000 (0.6, 1).

ABC's "World News Tonight," which was boosted in the ratings the week before by Peter Jennings traveling to different cities, won the evening news ratings race over NBC and the departing Tom Brokaw for the second straight week.

ABC averaged 9.2 million viewers (6.5 rating, 14 share), NBC's "Nightly News" had 9 million (6.4, 14) and the "CBS Evening News" had 7.4 million viewers (5.3, 11).

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 May 10 to 16, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "Frasier" finale, NBC, 25.2 million; "ER," NBC, 23.9 million; "American Idol" (Tuesday), Fox, 23.3 million; "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," CBS, 22.5 million; "American Idol" (Wednesday), Fox, 22.3 million; "CSI: Miami," CBS, 20.9 million; "Survivor All-Stars," CBS, 19.1 million; "Frasier" clip show special, NBC, 17.9 million; "Without a Trace," CBS, 17.7 million; "Everybody Loves Raymond," CBS, 16.9 million.

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