Prinze Wins; 'Nightstalker' Stumbles in the Dark

By Lisa de Moraes
Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Four weeks into the TV season, the last of the new crop finally premiered: ABC's Freddie Prinze Jr. sitcom, "Freddie."

Here's a look at the week's hot and cold:

WINNERS

"Freddie." More than 9 million watched Freddie Prinze Jr.'s new sitcom open Tuesday -- the most-watched series in its half-hour. Better yet, ABC reported that it scored its biggest sitcom premiere rating in two years with young viewers.

"Criminal Minds." CBS's criminal profiler drama opened with 10.6 million viewers in the tough "Lost" time slot. Now it's up to nearly 14 million -- the network's biggest audience in the time slot, ironically, since Dan Rather interviewed Saddam Hussein in February '03.

"Surface." NBC picked up more episodes of its new aliens-in-the-water drama, which averaged about 10 million viewers last week, because, Entertainment chief Kevin Reilly noted in the announcement, it's catching on with more viewers each week.

"Bones." Fox picked up additional episodes of its Tuesday 8 p.m. forensic drama, spouting numbers that are such phonus balonus we don't even know where to begin and we're certainly not going to repeat them here. Let's just say that when it actually runs in its time slot -- which is to say when baseball does not -- it's been doing fine.

"War at Home." Ditto Fox's explanation for its pickup of more episodes on its new Sunday sitcom.

"Twitches." Disney Channel's Friday flick, based loosely on the kids' book series "T*Witches," was basic cable's most-watched telecast last week. Its more than 7 million viewers put it ahead of Disney-owned ABC, as well as UPN and WB in its nearly two-hour block.

CBS Sunday football overrun . The highly rated one-hour overrun helped CBS snap upstart ABC's three-week winning streak among the young viewers even CBS now admits it targets. Didn't help that "Walker, Texas Ranger" flick much, though; it started an hour late and copped 10.2 million viewers.

LOSERS

"Nightstalker." A measly 5.2 million viewers on Thursday makes this new ABC drama last week's least-watched original episode of a series on a Big Four network. As if that's not bad enough, that's about 2 million fewer viewers than watched its premiere two weeks earlier.

"Sex, Love & Secrets." This new UPN show hit its best number yet -- just under 1.6 million viewers -- but it was still the least-watched program on broadcast television last week.

"Primetime." ABC's saggy Thursday newsmag suffered its smallest audience since the summer of '03: 4.5 million viewers.

"Joey." Once again, the "Friends" spinoff was NBC's least-watched scripted show of the week.

The week's 10 most watched programs, in order, were: CBS's "CSI"; ABC's "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost"; CBS's "Without a Trace" and "CSI: Miami"; ABC's "Grey's Anatomy"; CBS's "Survivor: Guatemala" and "NCIS"; and ABC's "Commander in Chief" and "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."


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