Originally created 12/06/01

Nostalgic TV pays off for CBS



NEW YORK - CBS has struck paydirt in recent weeks by anticipating a craving for nostalgia among TV viewers, culminating in last week's Show Stoppers with Carol Burnett.

Ms. Burnett's special drew just under 30 million viewers, leading CBS to a Nielsen Media Research prime-time victory.

It was the third nostalgic show to do well for CBS in the rating "sweeps" month of November. A Michael Jackson concert special and a salute to Lucille Ball were also big winners.

Those successes may have something to do with the lingering effects of Sept. 11.

"There's evidence that people are watching TV together as a family, instead of going into their separate rooms," said David Poltrack, chief researcher for CBS.

CBS also drew big numbers for Everybody Loves Raymond, which aired an hour before Ms. Burnett. NBC's one-hour special on the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, its Fear Factor celebrity edition and ABC's movie, Brian's Song, were ratings winners last week.

Garth Brooks' third and final concert special on CBS (No. 65), Fox's Temptation Island (No. 86) and ABC's special, The Best Commercials Never Seen, were among the ratings losers.

For the week, CBS had a prime-time average of 13.4 million viewers (8.6 rating, 14 share), NBC had 11.9 million (7.9, 13), ABC had 11.4 million (7.5, 12), Fox had 9.2 million (5.9, 9), UPN had 4.8 million (3.0, 5), the WB had 4 million (2.6, 4) and Pax TV had 1.3 million (0.9, 1).

Prime-time ratings were compiled by Nielsen Media Research for Nov. 26 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 presentation. The rating is the percentage of the nation's estimated 105.5 million TV homes. Each ratings point represents 1,055,000 households.

1. (X) Carol Burnett Show: Show Stoppers, CBS, 18.9, 20.0 million homes.

2. (3) Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS, 15.2, 16.1 million homes.

3. (5) Law & Order, NBC, 13.7, 14.4 million homes.

3. (5) The West Wing, NBC, 13.7, 14.5 million homes.

5. (1) Friends, NBC, 13.2, 14 million homes.

6. (7) Becker, CBS, 12.9, 13.6 million homes.

7. (4) CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 12.2, 12.8 million homes.

7. (8) NFL Monday Night Football: Tampa Bay at St. Louis, ABC, 12.2, 13 million homes.

9. (13) Judging Amy, CBS, 11.4, 12 million homes.

10. (12) JAG, CBS, 10.9, 11.6 million homes.

11. (14) Frasier, NBC, 10.7, 11.3 million homes.

11. (17) The Practice, ABC, 10.7, 11.3 million homes.

13. (8) Survivor: Africa, CBS, 10.6, 11.2 million homes.

14. (X) Christmas in Rockefeller Center, NBC, 10.2, 10.7 million homes.

15. (X) Fear Factor, NBC, 10.1, 10.6 million homes.

15. (14) Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, NBC, 10.1, 10.6 million homes.

17. (23) Yes, Dear, CBS, 10, 10.6 million homes.

18. (2) ER, NBC, 9.9, 10.5 million homes.

18. (21) The King of Queens, CBS, 9.9, 10.5 million homes.

20. (26) Dateline NBC-Friday, 9.4, 9.9 million homes.

20. NFL Monday Showcase, ABC, 9.4