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Sex starts fourth season with a bang

Sex and the City
outscored even last year's performance with the first episode of its new season. The two-episode debut for the HBO series' fourth season averaged a 13.3 Nielsen household rating, or an 18% share in homes that get the pay network. That's a 47% jump over last year's season debut, which generated a 9.0 rating with one episode. New dramatic series Six Feet Under
retained the bulk of that audience, averaging an 11.2. However, neither show beat even a routine episode of The Sopranos, which scored as high as a 20.0 rating this past season.

Porter joins USA Networks

USA Networks has tapped Elizabeth Porter as its new vice president of alternative programming. Porter will be charged with developing reality shows for USA, including late-night shows and specials. She will also work on reality shows currently in production. Porter, an Emmy Award-nominated producer, most recently produced a Martin Short sketch show that will air on Comedy Central this summer.

NBC, CBS retain their ratings crowns

For the first full week outside the 2000-01 season (May 28-June 3), NBC was No. 1 in adults 18-49, and CBS was atop the total viewers race—the same place the networks ended the regular season. NBC averaged a network-best 3.9 rating for the week in adults 18-49, while CBS was first in total viewers with a 9.7 million-viewer average, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Weakest Link gives Pax a strong boost

Weakest Link
is definitely a welcome addition to Pax TV's lineup. The debut of NBC's new quiz show paid off for Pax last week, leading the network to its best-ever weekly ratings results (tied with the week of May 29-June 4, 2000). Pax, which airs weekly repeats of Weakest Link
on Friday nights, scored a 1.1 household rating for the week of May 28-June 30 and attracted an average of 1.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. Debuting on Pax on June 1, the show delivered a number of all-time highs for the three-year-old network: It averaged a 1.2 rating at 8 p.m. ET/PT and delivered the time period's best results ever in adults 25-54, adults 18-49, women 25-54 and women 18-49.

E-Poll's Edge gets helping hands

A&E Television Networks, including A&E and The History Channel, and Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution have signed on as development partners on an audience-research tool from online survey service E-Poll. Other companies lending a hand to E-Poll's new product, called The Edge, are Twentieth Television and Carsey-Werner Distribution. When launched, E-Poll's service will offer online information about which programs, talent and show concepts viewers like best. In exchange for its help, E-Poll's media partners will get a discounted rate for using the service. The Edge should debut sometime after the summer.