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Ratings wane for weekend shows

The weekend wasn't so good to the broadcast networks' new and returning shows.

After a strong first week of the new season, the first weekend of the official 2001-2002 season saw low ratings at almost all of the major networks. Starting Friday night, ABC's return of reality series The Mole and first episode of Thieves, Fox's debut of drama Pasadena and the premiere of CBS' new block of comedies produced low ratings.

The Mole II debuted Friday with only 5.4 million viewers and a 2.2 rating in adults 18-49, Thieves followed with a 3.7/12 in adults 18-49 and 9.4 million viewers. Once & Again, in its new Friday night slot, started with 7.2 million viewers and a 3.1/10.

At Fox, Pasadena debuted with 4.8 million viewers and a 2.1/7. Dark Angel returned at Fox with a 3.2/12 in adults 18-49 and 7.4 million viewers. The Ellen Show moved to its regular Friday slot and posted a 2.3/9 and 7.1 million viewers. Fellow newcomer Danny averaged a 2.1/7 and 6.2 million viewers.

NBC had the strongest Friday night, led by Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, which averaged 15.4 million viewers and a 6.7/16 in adults 18-49. NBC's Providence returned with 12.2 million viewers and a 3.3/12.

On Saturday night, CBS' new lineup featuring Touched By an Angel produced modest results. Having moved from its regular Sunday night perch, Touched By an Angel averaged 8.8 million viewers and a 2.3/8. New drama Citizen Baines attracted 9.4 million viewers and a 2.2/7. ABC's run of film Forrest Gump won the night with 10.9 million viewers and a 4.6/14.

The most staggering number on Saturday night was NBC's repeat of Thursday night sitcom Inside Schwartz. The comedy aired at 8 p.m. Saturday and averaged a 1.1/4 in adults 18-49 and 2.6 million viewers-believed to be the network's lowest-rated non-sports program since Nielsen's People-Meters came on in 1985. In its debut last Thursday, Inside Schwartz averaged 22 million viewers and an 11.1/29 in adults 18-49. - Joe Schlosser