CNN's "Crossfire" now airs at 4:30 p.m. weekdays. Its new time slot was misstated in the April 22 TV Column. (Published 4/24/03)
ABC's 23rd telecast since 1973 of the 1956 Cecil B. De Mille flick "The Ten Commandments," starring the now 78-year-old Charlton Heston, won Easter Sunday night among 18-to-49-year-olds.
Yes, it is a miracle.
Armed only with the biblical epic, which filled the network's entire prime-time 7-to-11 schedule, ABC wrapped Sunday evening with a 21 percent lead over second-place NBC in the demographic that both networks target.
The aging movie started out with an unimpressive audience of about 8 million but grew steadily until it peaked with nearly 13 million at 10 p.m. Over its entire broadcast, the flick clocked nearly 11 million viewers of all ages. That's actually its smallest audience since at least 1992, when nearly 23 million watched, but a much smaller drop when compared with last year's crowd of 12.5 million.
"The Ten Commandments" will finish as last week's No. 1 movie. That makes four consecutive years that the film has ranked as the top movie on the week of its broadcast. From 10 to 11, "The Ten Commandments" beat the season finale of NBC's "Boomtown" by more than 1 million viewers overall and by 23 percent among those coveted 18-49ers.
From 7 to 9 Sunday night, NBC's Bob Hope salute averaged 12.5 million viewers. That special peaked at 8:30, when about 16 million were watching.
The old "Crossfire" is back at 6 p.m.
Just not on CNN.
MSNBC has moved a second hour of "Buchanan & Press," anchored by former "Crossfire" cross-talkers Pat Buchanan and Bill Press, into the 6 p.m. time slot that until this week was home to CNN's "Crossfire." CNN bumped the program to 3 p.m. starting this week to make way for a new 7 to 9 p.m. program, "American Evening With Paula Zahn."
And although the postwar world of MSNBC has room for two telecasts of "Buchanan & Press," it apparently has no room for shows anchored by Dan Abrams and Jerry Nachman.
In an e-mail, MSNBC President Erik Sorenson told staffers that "The Abrams Report" and "Nachman" did not make sense going forward but that both men would appear throughout the day on the MSNBC lineup -- Abrams as NBC News chief legal correspondent and Nachman "as a kind of Eric Sevareid/Jeff Greenfield voice" on media, politics and law enforcement.
Starting this week, the 3 to 4 p.m. "B&P" will be followed by two hours of "Lester Holt Live," leading into a second dose of "B&P" at 6 p.m., replacing "The Abrams Report."
"B&P2" is the new lead-in to "Hardball With Chris Matthews" at 7 p.m. "Countdown With Keith Olbermann" follows at 8, leading into another hour of war coverage anchored by Holt at 9. "Scarborough Country" remains at 10 and, starting tonight, "Hardball" will repeat at 11.