Originally created 07/12/01

In the know



TOP TV: Burned by the XFL earlier this year, NBC now has a Saturday-night sports show it can smile about.

The network's coverage of the Pepsi 400 race was the most-watched prime-time NASCAR race ever, and it helped NBC win a narrow ratings victory in one of the quietest TV weeks of the year.

Saturday's NASCAR race drew 10.2 million viewers, more than anything on any other network that night and about five times the audience that the now-folded XFL football league drew at its nadir.

The second edition of Big Brother premiered to tepid ratings on CBS. It drew just under 8.2 million viewers July 5, losing to a rerun of Friends and the new Spy TV on NBC.

Here are the prime-time ratings compiled by Nielsen Media Research for July 2 through Sunday. Top 20 listings include the week's ranking, with rating for the week and season-to-date rankings in parentheses.

An "X" in parentheses denotes a one-time-only presentation. The rating is the percentage of the nation's estimated 102.2 million TV homes. Each ratings point represents 1,022,000 households.

1. (9) Who Wants to Be a Millionaire-Sunday, ABC, 9.6 million homes.

2. (10) Who Wants to Be a Millionaire-Thursday, ABC, 8.2 million homes.

3. (35) 20/20-Friday, ABC, 8.0 million homes.

3. (32) Weakest Link, NBC, 8.0 million homes.

5. (5) Who Wants to Be a Millionaire-Tuesday, ABC, 8.0 million homes.

6. (12) CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 7.7 million homes.

7. (17) 60 Minutes, CBS, 7.5 million homes.

7. (6) Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS, 7.6 million homes.

9. (6) Friends, NBC, 7.3 million homes.

10. (60) 48 Hours, CBS, 7.0 million homes.

11. (38) 48 Hours-Monday, CBS, 6.8 million homes.

12. (63) Fear Factor, NBC, 6.6 million homes.

13. (25) Law and Order: Special Victim's Unit, NBC, 6.5 million homes.

14. (18) Becker, CBS, 6.4 million homes.

14. (32) CBS Sunday Movie: A Father for Brittany, 6.3 million homes.

16. (X) Daytona 400: Nascar: Winston Cup, NBC, 6.2 million homes.

16. (21) Who Wants to Be a Millionaire-Friday, ABC, 6.2 million homes.

18. (36) 60 Minutes II, CBS, 6.1 million homes.

18. (60) Spy TV, NBC, 6.1 million homes.

18. (16) Will & Grace, NBC, 6.2 million homes.