This is getting monotonous: "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" was the most-watched TV show last week. And the second most popular. And the third.
The game show gave ABC another weekly Nielsen Media Research victory, and made a tight season race even tighter.
"Millionaire" drew 29.5 million viewers Sunday, competing against the Golden Globe Awards on NBC, and 30.1 million last Tuesday.
Thursday was the best, when 32.4 million people watched, just under the game show's all-time biggest audience. It gave ABC a win on a night NBC is used to dominating.
The "Millionaire" success hasn't necessarily translated to its imitators. NBC is doing well with its "Twenty One" revival, but CBS's "Winning Lines" and Fox's "Greed" had mediocre showings last week.
ABC averaged 15.8 million viewers in prime time last week. CBS had 12.9 million, NBC had 12.8 million and Fox 11.3 million.
The competition for top-rated network this season is remarkably close. Measured in viewers, ABC has the lead. Only an average of 50,000 viewers separates ABC, CBS and NBC--the Nielsen equivalent of splitting hairs.
"Malcolm in the Middle" continues as a success story for Fox. With 19.2 million viewers, it was second only to a "Friends" rerun for most popular comedy or drama series last week.
UPN led the mini-networks with 3.9 million viewers last week, while WB had 3.6 million and Pax TV had 1 million.
NBC's "Nightly News" led the evening news competition with an average of 12.8 million viewers, ABC's "World News Tonight" had 12.4 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 10.5 million.
For the week of Jan. 17-23, the top 10 shows were:
"Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" (Thursday), ABC; "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" (Tuesday); "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" (Sunday); "Golden Globe Awards," NBC; NFC championship post-game show, Fox; "Friends," NBC; "Everybody Loves Raymond," CBS; "Frasier," NBC; "Jesse," NBC; "NYPD Blue," ABC.