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Fox hitless with Series

If Nielsen Media Research's preliminary "fast affiliate" ratings are
accurate, this year's World Series may be the least-viewed ever. Viewing of the
first two games was at record lows, but Nielsen stressed that the numbers could
change when the final figures come out Tuesday morning.

The first two games of the Series gave Fox prime time wins Saturday and
Sunday nights, but the early numbers showed that viewing for both games was below that
for games one and two of the 2000 New York "subway" series, the record lows up to
this point.

Even as Sunday's seesaw slugfest (won by the Angels 11-10) grew more
dramatic, viewers were distracted by other choices. Or maybe they were looking
for a pitching duel. Either way, the Nielsen numbers showed a steady decline for
Fox from the first hour of prime time, when it aired pregame coverage, through
11 p.m.

From 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., Fox averaged 21.7 million viewers with the game, a little
more than double NBC, the nearest competitor in total viewers. But from 9 p.m. to 10
p.m., NBC closed to within 1 million viewers of the game with Law &
Order: Criminal Intent

And at 10 p.m., almost as many viewers opted for ABC's The Practice as
the Series. Over at NBC, during the same hour, the game didn't put a dent in
Boom Town, which got the same household rating it did a week ago.

For the night, the household ratings: Fox 11.5/18, CBS 7.1/11, NBC 6.6/11 and
ABC 6.2/10.

Adults 18 through 49: Fox 6.5/16, ABC 4.3/11, NBC 3.8/9
and CBS 2.4/8.

Men 25 through 54: Fox 9.6/21, ABC 4.3/9, NBC 3.6/8 and CBS 2.5/5.

The story was similar on Saturday night with game one, a close game that went
to the Giants 4-3. But Fox couldn't build ratings momentum and its ratings
steadily declined throughout prime time. It won the night by only by 2
household rating points over CBS.

From 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., Fox averaged 16.3 million viewers with the game, about
twice as many as second-place CBS, which aired Touched by an
. In the next hour, Fox's audience dropped by almost 5 million and the
game was ahead of The District on CBS by only a couple of hundred thousand

The game lost another 1 million-plus viewers from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.

For the night, the fast affiliate household numbers: Fox 8.1/15, CBS
6.1/11, NBC 3.9/7 and ABC 3.7/7.

Adults 18 through 49: Fox 4.1/13, CBS 2.5/8, NBC 2.2/7 and ABC 2.1/7.

Men 25 through 54: Fox 6.6/18, ABC 2.3/6, CBS 2.2/6 and NBC 2.1/6.

On Friday, which had no baseball, NBC won across the key categories with its
usual lineup (Providence, Dateline, Law & Order: Special Victims

The household numbers: NBC 8.6/16, ABC 6.0/11, CBS 5.2/10 and Fox 3.3/6.

Adults 18 through 49: NBC 3.5/12, ABC 3.3/11, Fox 2.3/8 and CBS 2.0/7.