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Posted at 1:59 p.m. PDT Tuesday, May 23, 2000

Is `Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' showing some weakness?

BY DAVID BAUDER
AP Television Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Is the bubble bursting for ``Who Wants to Be a Millionaire''?

ABC's hit game show was trounced in the ratings Thursday by the season finale of ``Frasier.'' The NBC sitcom, which is moving to Tuesday nights in the fall, had 33.7 million viewers compared to the 18.6 million viewers for the competing ``Millionaire.''

That's about 9 million fewer viewers than ``Who Wants to Be a Millionaire'' has averaged on Thursday nights this year, Nielsen Media Research said Tuesday.

Regis Philbin fans also didn't express much interest in the Thursday night ``behind the scenes'' ``Millionaire'' special. It had 13.4 million viewers, compared to the 34.5 million people who made the season finale of ``ER'' the week's most popular program.

Sunday's results should give pause to anyone who thinks ``Millionaire'' is about to fade away, however.

Against more lackluster competition, ``Millionaire'' bounced back to 27.7 million viewers, just 200,000 fewer than its Sunday night average for the year. Two competing movies -- ``Growing Up Brady'' on NBC and ``The Linda McCartney Story'' on CBS -- did poorly.

Analysts say ``Millionaire'' can be beaten by strong competition. The game show is ``default viewing'' for many fans, said top CBS researcher David Poltrack.

``I think a lot of people watch it because there's nothing else on that they like,'' said Steven Sternberg, a senior partner at the advertising firm TN Media.

``Frasier,'' where the characters Niles and Daphne drove off from her aborted wedding in a Winnebago, was the highest-rated episode in the program's seven-year history.

The season-ending ``Friends,'' with Monica accepting Chandler's marriage proposal, drew just under 31 million viewers. NBC quickly announced it would repeat the episode Wednesday, the final night of the May ratings sweeps.

Nielsen said 14.3 million people tuned in to the series finale of ``Beverly Hills 90210'' on Fox, that show's biggest audience in nearly five years.

With sweeps nearly over, researchers say broadcast networks have increased their viewership over last May by 1 percent.

``It's not huge,'' said NBC Entertainment President Garth Ancier, ``but at least it's not a decline.''

For the week, ABC had an average of 14.3 million viewers (9.8 rating, 16 share), and second-place NBC had 13.8 million viewers (9.6, 16). While ABC is poised to capture the May sweeps, it is running neck-and-neck with NBC among the 18-to-49-year-old demographic that advertisers crave.

CBS had an average of 12.5 million viewers in prime-time last week (8.8, 15), Fox had 8.9 million viewers (6.0, 10), UPN had 3.9 million (2.6, 4), the WB had 3.6 million (2.6, 4) and Pax TV had 970,000 (0.7, 1).

NBC's ``Nightly News'' won the evening news ratings race with 9.7 million viewers (7.3 rating, 16 share). ABC's ``World News Tonight'' had 8.9 million viewers (6.8, 15), and the ``CBS Evening News'' had 7.2 million viewers (5.6, 12).

1. (3) ``ER,'' NBC, 22.3, 22.45 million homes.
2. (7) ``Frasier,'' NBC, 22.1, 22.26 million homes.
3. (5) ``Friends,'' NBC, 20.0, 20.15 million homes.
4. (3) ``Who Wants to be a Millionaire-Sunday,'' ABC, 18.2, 18.30 million homes.
5. (1) ``Who Wants to be a Millionaire-Tuesday,'' ABC, 15.5, 15.65 million homes.
6. (10) ``The Practice,'' ABC, 15.4, 15.54 million homes.
7. (X) ``Who Wants to be a Millionaire-Wednesday,'' ABC, 15.3, 15.38 million homes.
8. (2) ``Who Wants to be a Millionaire-Thursday,'' ABC, 12.4, 12.54 million homes.
9. (11) ``Touched by an Angel,'' CBS, 12.3, 12.39 million homes.
9. (30) ``CBS Wednesday Movie: Jesus, Part 2,'' CBS, 12.3, 12.39 million homes.
11. (12) ``Law and Order,'' NBC, 12.2, 12.28 million homes.
12. (38) ''20/20-Wednesday,'' ABC, 11.7, 11.78 million homes.
13. (9) ''60 Minutes,'' CBS, 11.6, 11.67 million homes.
14. (22) ``Judging Amy,'' CBS, 11.5, 11.62 million homes.
15. (20) ``Dharma & Greg,'' ABC, 11.4, 11.53 million homes.
15. (12) ``Everybody Loves Raymond,'' CBS, 11.4, 11.45 million homes.
17. (24) ``The Drew Carey Show,'' ABC, 10.9, 10.96 million homes.
18. (40) ``Spin City,'' ABC, 10.4, 10.52 million homes.
19. (21) ``Becker'' CBS, 10.3, 10.38 million homes.
20. (27) ``ABC Monday Night Movie: Air Force One,'' ABC, 10.0, 10.10 million homes.
-------------
21. ``Providence,'' NBC, 9.8
22. ``Just Shoot Me,'' NBC, 9.7
23. ``Beverly Hills, 90210,'' Fox, 9.6
24. (X) ``Murder, She Wrote: A Story to Die for'', CBS, 9.5
24. ``NYPD Blue,'' ABC, 9.5
26. (X) ``Behind Scenes of Who Wants to be a Millionaire,'' ABC, 9.4
27. (X) ''48 Hours,'' CBS, 9.3
27. ``JAG,'' CBS, 9.3
27. ``The West Wing,'' NBC, 9.3
30. ``Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,'' NBC, 9.2
31. (X) ``Daytime Emmy Awards,'' ABC, 9.1
31. ''60 Minutes II,'' CBS, 9.1
33. ``The X-Files,'' Fox, 8.9
34. ``Dateline NBC Friday,'' NBC, 8.7
35. ``Malcolm in the Middle,'' Fox, 8.6
35. ``Will & Grace,'' NBC, 8.6
37. ``Walker, Texas Ranger,'' CBS, 8.5
38. ``Dateline NBC-Tuesday,'' NBC, 8.4
39. ``The Simpsons,'' Fox, 8.3
39. ``NBC Sunday Night Movie: Growing Up Brady,'' NBC, 8.3
41. ``King of Queens,'' CBS, 8.1
41. ``Third Watch,'' NBC, 8.1
43. ``Ally McBeal,'' Fox, 7.9
44. ``Ladies Man,'' CBS, 7.7
45. ``Sports Night,'' ABC, 7.4
46. ``NBC Saturday Night Movies: John Grisham's The Rainmaker,'' NBC, 7.2
47. ``CBS Sunday Movie: ``The Linda McCartney Story,'' CBS, 7.1
48. ``Nash Bridges,'' CBS, 6.9
48. (X) ``Arista Record Anniversary,'' NBC, 6.9
50. ''48 Hours,'' CBS, 6.8
51. ``Wonderful World of Disney: The Mask,'' ABC, 6.6
52. (X) ``Judds Reunion: The Power to Change ,'' CBS, 6.1
53. (X) ``Dukes of Hazzard: Hazzard in Hollywood,'' CBS, 5.8
53. ``Dateline NBC-Wednesday,'' NBC, 5.8
53. ``That '70s Show,'' Fox, 5.8
53. ``Will & Grace 8:30,'' NBC, 5.8
57. (X) ``Best Comm'l Never Seen 4,'' ABC, 5.7
57. ``Whose Line is it Anyway?-8:30pm,'' ABC, 5.7
59. ``Titus,'' Fox, 5.6
59. ``Whose Line is it Anyway?,'' ABC, 5.6
61. ``Cops 2,'' Fox, 5.5
62. ``America's Most Wanted: America Fights Back,'' Fox, 5.4
63. ''3rd Rock from the Sun,'' NBC, 5.2
64. ``Early Edition,'' CBS, 4.9
65. ``ABC Saturday Night Movie: Air Force One,'' ABC, 4.8
66. ``Cops: Albuquerque,'' Fox, 4.7
66. ''7th Heaven,'' WB, 4.7
66. ``Fox Thursday Night Movie: True Lies,'' Fox, 4.7
66. ``World Wrestling Federation Smackdown!,'' UPN, 4.7
70. ``King of the Hill,'' Fox, 4.6
70. (X) ``After Diff'rent Strokes,'' Fox, 4.6
72. (X) ``Unauthorized Brady Bunch,'' Fox, 4.4
73. ``Greed,'' Fox, 4.3
74. (X) ``NBC Movie of the Week: Beverly Hills Ninja-Sunday,'' NBC, 4.0
75. ``Futurama,'' Fox, 3.7
75. ``World's Wildest Police Videos,'' Fox, 3.7
75. ``Angel,'' WB, 3.7
78. ``Buffy, the Vampire Slayer,'' WB, 3.4
79. ``Charmed,'' WB, 3.1
80. ``Dawson's Creek,'' WB, 3.0
80. ``Star Trek: Voyager,'' UPN, 3.0
82. ``The Parkers,'' UPN, 2.8
82. ``Roswell,'' WB, 2.8
84. ``The Steve Harvey Show,'' WB, 2.5
84. ``The Steve Harvey Show-1,'' WB, 2.5
84. ``Moesha,'' UPN, 2.5
84. ``Moesha-Tuesday,'' UPN, 2.5
88. ``The Parkers-Tuesday,'' UPN, 2.4
89. ``Jamie Foxx Show-1,'' WB, 2.3
90. ``Grown Ups,'' UPN, 2.1
91. ``For Your Love,'' WB, 2.0
91. ``Charmed-Sun,'' WB, 2.0
91. ``Felicity,'' WB, 2.0
94. ''7 Days,'' UPN, 1.9
94. ``Malcolm & Eddie,'' UPN, 1.9
96. ''7th Heaven Beginnings,'' WB, 1.7
96. ``Popular,'' WB, 1.7
98. ``I Dare You!,'' UPN, 1.6
99. ``Movie Stars,'' WB, 1.5
100. ``Blockbuster Cinema: Chameleon 3: Dark Angel,'' UPN, 1.4
101. ``Diagnosis Murder-Monday,'' Pax, 1.2
101. ``Zoe,'' WB, 1.2
103. ``Diagnosis Murder-Wednesday,'' Pax, 1.1
104. ``Diagnosis Murder-Thursday,'' Pax, 0.9
104. ``Pax TV Sunday Mystery Movie: Diagnosis Murder: Trash TV,'' Pax, 0.9
104. ``Touched by an Angel-Monday,'' Pax, 0.9
104. ``Touched by an Angel-Tuesday,'' Pax, 0.9
104. ``Touched by an Angel-Wednesday,'' Pax, 0.9
109. ``Diagnosis Murder-Tuesday,'' Pax, 0.8
110. ``Diagnosis Murder-Friday,'' Pax, 0.7
110. ``Touched by an Angel-Friday,'' Pax, 0.7
112. ``It's a Miracle,'' Pax, 0.6
112. ``It's a Miracle-Friday,'' Pax, 0.6
112. (X) ``Miracle Babies II-Monday,'' Pax, 0.6
112. ``Touched by an Angel-Thursday,'' Pax, 0.6
112. ``Twenty-One,'' Pax, 0.6
117. ``It's a Miracle Encore,'' Pax, 0.5
117. ``Twice in a Lifetime,'' Pax, 0.5
119. ``Chicken Soup for the Soul,'' Pax, 0.4
119. ``Pax TV Three-Hanky Movie: Miss Rose White,'' Pax, 0.4
119. ``Touched by an Angel-Weekend,'' Pax, 0.4
122. ``Jack Hanna-Totally Wild,'' Pax, 0.3
 

Nielsen Ratings

Ratings run Monday - Sunday, use the links below to look for any week.

#

Air Date

101

11/2/98

102

11/9/98

103

11/16/98

11/23/98

104

11/30/98

105

12/7/98

106

12/14/98

107

12/21/98

12/28/98

1/4/99

108

1/11/99

109

1/18/99

110

1/25/99

111

2/1/99

112

2/8/99

113

2/15/99

114

2/22/99

115

3/1/99

116

3/8/99

3/15/99

3/22/99

3/29/99
117

4/5/99

118

4/12/99

119

4/19/99

103

4/26/99

120

5/3/99

121 5/10/99
122

5/17/99

5/24/99

5/31/99

6/7/99
6/14/99

6/21/99

6/28/99
7/5/99
7/12/99
7/19/99

7/26/99

7/28/99
8/2/99
8/9/99
8/16/99
8/23/99
  9-6-99
  9-13-99
201 9-20-99
202 9-27-99
203 10-4-99
204 10-11-99
205 10-18-99
206 10/25/99
207 11/1/99
208 11/8/99
209 11/15/99
210 11/22/99
211 11/29/99

201

12/6/99
212 12/13/99
118 12/20/99
119 12/27/99
121 1/3/2000
213 1/10/00
214 1/17/00

122

1/24/00
203 1/31/00
215 2/7/00
216 2/14/00
217 2/21/00
218 2/28/00
  3/6/00
  3/13/00
219 3/20/00
  3/27/00
  4/3/00
220 4/10/00
221 4/17/00
222 4/24/00
223 5/01/00
224 5/08/00

 

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