Originally created 03/21/02

'Celebrity Boxing' is ratings top contender for Fox



NEW YORK - If B-list celebrities want to beat the tar out of each other or be covered with worms, cockroaches and snakes on national television, people will watch.

That's the lesson from last week's Nielsen Media Research ratings, where Fox's Celebrity Boxing (16th in ratings) and NBC's Fear Factor (11th) were potent performers.

Fox's one-hour special featuring pugilists Danny Bonaduce, Todd Bridges, Tonya Harding and Paula Jones drew 15.5 million viewers. It was the third most popular entertainment special of the TV season, behind shows featuring Carol Burnett and Michael Jackson.

"We thought it would do well, but this surprised me," said Mike Darnell, Fox's executive in charge of alternative programming. "Something is going on where there is a fascination with personalities in unique situations, and this was certainly a unique situation."

Fox is rerunning Celebrity Boxing this Thursday and is already planning a second edition, probably for the May ratings "sweeps."

This time, however, celebrities are calling Fox instead of the network doing the pleading. Former millionaire bride Darva Conger is one of the celebrities being talked about for round two.

Ali Landry, Stephen Baldwin and Backstreet Boy Kevin Richardson were among the celebrities covered in creepy crawlies on last week's Fear Factor. The 90-minute edition attracted more than 17 million viewers, Nielsen said.

Much to NBC's chagrin, most of those viewers didn't stick around for The Colin Quinn Show, which aired immediately afterward. The show's 7.2 million viewers were an indication that the comedy variety show has a dim future.

ABC News' special interview with Rosie O'Donnell last Thursday cracked Nielsen's ratings top 10 with 14.4 million viewers.

A ratings point represents 1,055,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 105.5 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

For the week of March 11 through Sunday, the top 10 shows, their networks and ratings were:

1. (1) "Friends," NBC, 13.6, 14.3 million homes.

2. (7) "Law and Order," NBC, 11.6, 12.3 million homes.

3. (6) "Survivor: Marquesas," CBS, 11.5, 12.2 million homes.

4. (15) "60 Minutes," CBS, 11.2, 11.8 million homes.

5. (5) "Everybody Loves Raymond," CBS, 10.9, 11.5 million homes.

6. (15) "JAG," CBS, 10.7, 11.3 million homes.

7. (13) "Becker," CBS, 10.5, 11.1 million homes.

7. (8) "Leap of Faith," NBC, 10.5, 11.0 million homes.

7. (42) "Primetime Thursday," ABC, 10.5, 11.1 million homes.

10. (9) "The West Wing," NBC, 10.0, 10.6 million homes.

11. (35) "Fear Factor," NBC, 9.8, 10.4 million homes.

11. (17) "Frasier," NBC, 9.8, 10.3 million homes.

13. (4) "E.R.," NBC, 9.4, 10.0 million homes.

13. (14) "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit," NBC, 9.4, 10.0 million homes.

15. (12) "Will & Grace," NBC, 9.2, 9.7 million homes.

16. (X) "Celebrity Boxing," Fox, 9.1, 9.6 million homes.

16. (26) "The Practice," ABC, 9.1, 9.6 million homes.

18. (29) "The Guardian," CBS, 8.6, 9.1 million homes.

19. (39) "Dateline NBC-Tuesday," NBC, 8.4, 8.9 million homes.

20. (31) "Dateline NBC-Friday," NBC, 8.2, 8.6 million homes.

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20. "Just Shoot Me," NBC, 8.2

20. "The King of Queens," CBS, 8.2

23. "Dateline NBC-Wednesday," NBC, 8.1

24. "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," NBC, 8.0

25. "CBS Sunday Movie: Beyond the Prairie II," CBS, 7.9

25. "NYPD Blue," ABC, 7.9

25. "Yes, Dear," CBS, 7.9

28. "Watching Ellie," NBC, 7.7

29. "Scrubs," NBC, 7.6

30. "Boston Public," Fox, 7.5

31. "Judging Amy," CBS, 7.4

32. "The Amazing Race 2," CBS, 7.3

33. "Frasier," NBC, 7.2

34. "The Education of Max Bickford," CBS, 7.1

35. "20/20-Friday," ABC, 6.9

35. (X) "CBS NCAA Basketball Championship-Saturday 1: Various Teams and Times," CBS, 6.9

35. "Dateline NBC-Sunday," NBC, 6.9

38. "Alias," ABC, 6.8

39. "Once and Again," ABC, 6.4

40. "Philly," ABC, 6.3

40. "The Simpsons," Fox, 6.3

40. "The Wonderful World Of Disney: Snow White: Fairest of Them All," ABC, 6.3

43. (X) "Amazing Race 2," CBS, 6.2

43. "My Wife and Kids," ABC, 6.2

45. "Weakest Link-Sunday," NBC, 6.1

46. (X) "CBS NCAA Basketball Championship-Saturday 4: Various Teams and Times," CBS, 6.0

47. "According to Jim," ABC, 5.9

47. "America's Funniest Home Videos," ABC, 5.9

47. (X) "Saturday Night Live: Remember John Belushi," NBC, 5.9

50. (X) "CBS NCAA Post Game Saturday 1," CBS, 5.8

50. "The Drew Carey Show," ABC, 5.8

52. "Bloopers 5," ABC, 5.7

53. "American Embassy," Fox, 5.5

54. "24," Fox, 5.4

54. (X) "CBS NCAA Basketball Championship-Friday 1: Various Teams and Times," CBS, 5.4

54. "Dharma & Greg," ABC, 5.4

54. "Malcolm in the Middle," Fox, 5.4

54. "Spin City," ABC, 5.4

59. (X) "60 Minutes II," CBS, 5.3

59. "America's Most Wanted: America Fights Back," Fox, 5.3

59. "Downtown," ABC, 5.3

62. "That '70s Show," Fox, 5.2

63. (X) "CBS NCAA Basketball Championship-Friday 2: Various Teams and Times," CBS, 5.1

63. "NBC Saturday Night Movies: Matthew Shepard Story," NBC, 5.1

65. (X) "CBS NCAA Basketball Championship-Thursday 2: Various Teams and Times," CBS, 5.0

65. "Cops 2: Palm Beach," Fox, 5.0

65. "Whose Line is it Anyway?," ABC, 5.0

68. (X) "ABC News Special: The Hunt For Osama Bin Laden," ABC, 4.8

68. (X) "The Bernie Mac Show," Fox, 4.8

68. (X) "My Wife and Kids," ABC, 4.8

68. "The X-Files," Fox, 4.8

72. "The Colin Quinn Show," NBC, 4.7

72. "The Job," ABC, 4.7

74. (X) "The Simpsons," Fox, 4.6

75. "Cops: Coast to Coast," Fox, 4.5

75. "The District," CBS, 4.5

77. "King Of the Hill," Fox, 4.3

77. (X) "Weakest Link-Sunday," NBC, 4.3

77. "Whose Line is it Anyway?," ABC, 4.3

80. (X) "ET: 20th Anniversary," NBC, 4.2

80. "Undeclared," Fox, 4.2

82. "ABC Saturday Night Movie: The Man With the Golden Gun," ABC, 4.1

83. "World Wrestling Federation Smackdown!," UPN, 4.0

84. "Smallville," WB, 3.8

85. "Dark Angel," Fox, 3.5

85. "Futurama," Fox, 3.5

87. "7th Heaven," WB, 3.3

87. "That '70s Show 2," Fox, 3.3

89. "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," UPN, 3.2

90. "Charmed," WB, 3.1

90. "Family Guy 2," Fox, 3.1

90. (X) "Grounded For Life," Fox, 3.1

90. "King of the Hill 2," Fox, 3.1

90. "The Wayne Brady Show," ABC, 3.1

95. "Gilmore Girls," WB, 2.7

95. "Girlfriends," UPN, 2.7

97. "Family Guy," Fox, 2.6

97. "Futurama 2," Fox, 2.6

97. "The Parkers," UPN, 2.6

97. "Reba," WB, 2.6

101. "Enterprise," UPN, 2.5

102. "Sabrina the Teenage Witch," WB, 2.4

103. "One On One," UPN, 2.3

104. "Maybe It's Me," WB, 2.0

105. "Dawson's Creek," WB, 1.8

105. "Diagnosis Murder-Monday," Pax, 1.8

105. "For Your Love," WB, 1.8

105. "Off Centre," WB, 1.8

109. "Diagnosis Murder-Thursday," Pax, 1.7

109. "Glory Days," WB, 1.7

109. "The Hughleys," UPN, 1.7

112. "Dawson's Creek," WB, 1.6

112. "The Jamie Kennedy Experiment-Sunday," WB, 1.6

112. "World Wrestling Federation Divas," UPN, 1.6

115. "The Jamie Kennedy Experiment," WB, 1.4

115. (X) "My Guide to Becoming a Rock Star," WB, 1.4

117. "Touched By an Angel-Wednesday," Pax, 1.3

118. "Diagnosis Murder-Wednesday," Pax, 1.2

118. "It's a Miracle," Pax, 1.2

118. (X) "My Guide to Becoming a Rock Star," WB, 1.2

118. "No Boundaries," WB, 1.2

122. "The Amazing Race 2," UPN, 1.1

122. "Diagnosis Murder-Friday," Pax, 1.1

122. "Diagnosis Murder-Tuesday," Pax, 1.1

122. "Touched By an Angel-Monday," Pax, 1.1

122. "Touched By an Angel-Thursday," Pax, 1.1

127. "The Amazing Race 2," UPN, 1.0

127. "As If," UPN, 1.0

129. (X) "Bonanza," Pax, 0.9

129. "Candid Camera-Wednesday," Pax, 0.9

129. "The Random Years," UPN, 0.9

132. (X) "Bonanza," Pax, 0.8

132. "Candid Camera-Sunday," Pax, 0.8

132. "Doc-Sunday," Pax, 0.8

132. "Touched By an Angel-Sunday," Pax, 0.8

132. "Weakest Link," Pax, 0.8

137. (X) "Bonanza," Pax, 0.7

137. "Mysterious Ways-Friday," Pax, 0.7

139. (X) "Bonanza," Pax, 0.6

139. "Doc-Tuesday," Pax, 0.6

139. "Miracle Pets-Monday," Pax, 0.6

142. "Mysterious Ways-Tuesday," Pax, 0.5

On the Net:

http://www.nielsenmedia.com