Must See TV was on CBS's Monday, not NBC's Thursday, last week as eye network sitcoms and timely "48 Hours" newsmag coverage landed more top-10 slots than the peacock's all-star night.
Here's a look at the week's aces and jokers:
CBS News. The eye net's news division could do little wrong in prime time last week. On Monday, ABC's "20/20" and NBC's "Dateline" special cannibalized each other's 8 p.m. audience with coverage of John F. Kennedy Jr.'s death, but CBS's summer "48 Hours" was well positioned at 10 p.m. and scored its biggest audience since its premiere. "60 Minutes II" won its Tuesday time slot, as it has all summer except during All-Star baseball week. And Sunday's "60 Minutes" scored its second-best summer number.
"Everybody Loves Raymond." The CBS hit had a red-letter week. Monday, it bagged the week's biggest comedy audience--beating all of NBC's Thursday sitcoms--and nabbed its best ranking ever--No. 3. On Thursday, the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences gave it long-overdue recognition with the show's first-ever best-sitcom Emmy nomination, and Friday the nation's TV critics, in Pasadena for their summer press tour, bestowed a trophy on lead Ray Romano.
"Becker." More viewers watched Ted Danson's talky CBS sitcom last week than watched NBC's "Friends," "Jesse" or "Will & Grace," or ABC's "Dharma & Greg." "Becker" won its 9:30 Monday time slot for the second consecutive week and scored its best weekly ranking to date--No. 6.
"King of Queens." The CBS sitcom outpaced the previous week's debut in its new Monday 8 p.m. time slot, where it will appear this fall, by nearly 2 million viewers--a very good thing.
"20/20" Friday. More viewers turned to ABC's newsmag than to NBC's or CBS's on Friday for information about JFK Jr.
"Whose Line Is It Anyway?" ABC's Wednesday improv show bagged a million viewers more than its "Drew Carey Show" lead-in and was a top 10 hit among adults 18-49, teens and kids. Carey, who hosts "Whose Line," loves the concept so much that he has announced he'll do an improv episode of "The Drew Carey Show" for the November sweeps. It will be performed three times, once for each time zone.
"20/20" Monday. NBC's special Monday 8 p.m. "Dateline" whacked ABC's Monday "20/20," which suffered its smallest audience ever.
"To Die For." Was DOA on Wednesday, scoring Fox's puniest audience in a year, when it aired the umpteenth run of "The Color of Money."
"Radiant City." Viewers can do without Kirstie Alley on Thursday. NBC pulled her "Veronica's Closet" last week, so ABC dusted off her '96 TV movie and ran it that night, where it scored only half the audience of that '96 run.
"Jesse." An NBC Thursday sitcom ranking No. 27 for the week? The viewers are speaking, NBC.
"The X-Files." Fox's paranormal show is having a very bad summer, last week dropping more than a million viewers below lead-in "Futurama."
"Confirmation: Evidence of Aliens." No "Alien Autopsy," NBC's "they are out there" special plunged by nearly 50 percent compared with its first broadcast during the February sweeps.
The week's 10 most watched programs, in order, were: CBS's "60 Minutes"; ABC's Wednesday "20/20"; CBS's "Everybody Loves Raymond"; NBC's Thursday 9:30 p.m. "Frasier"; CBS's "Touched by an Angel," "Becker" and Monday "48 Hours"; NBC's Thursday 9 p.m. "Frasier"; ABC's Sunday "20/20"; and CBS's "Walker, Texas Ranger." The week's most watched cable program was USA Network's Monday 10 p.m. wrestling with 7.7 million viewers, which is on par with the broadcast nets' 45th-ranked show.