Sopranos rubs out broadcast nets

The debut of the fourth season of Home Box Office's The Sopranos beat
even the broadcast networks in the time slot Sunday, and came in second place
for the night.

The Sopranos posted a 23.7 Nielsen Media Research household rating, or
23.7 percent of HBO's 33.3 million-subscriber distribution base. That
translates into 7.9 million households and 13.4 million viewers. The only
broadcast network to get close in the 9 p.m. EST time slot was NBC, which got
7.9 million households with Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Only 60 Minutes did better for the night, grabbing 10.6 million

The rating is the highest ever for an original program on HBO and the
highest rating of any program on the network since 1988. Several boxing matches,
however, posted higher scores in the 1980s.

The Sopranos proved to be a great lead-in for two other shows, Curb
your Enthusiasm
(scoring an 11 rating) and Mind of the Married Man (6.9),
which almost doubled their lackluster performances during last