For ABC, kids, dollars and lawyers proved potent Sunday night, as the triple-threat lineup of "Annie," a new round of "So You Want to be a Millionaire?" and "The Practice" dominated the first Sunday evening of sweeps.
The lavish "Annie," a new adaptation of the musical that even featured an appearance by original Annie Andrea McArdle, kicked off the evening by attracting some 26.3 million viewers. That compares to 19.2 million for "60 Minutes" on CBS (which, because of football, actually ran 90 minutes, beginning at 7: 30 p.m.), 9.6 million for "Dateline NBC" at 7 p.m. and 11.5 million for "Third Watch" on NBC at 8 p.m.
The news got even better for ABC at 9 p.m., when Regis Philbin and the gang at "So You Want to be a Millionaire?" proved yet again that Americans love watching people get rich right before their eyes. The show attracted 25.7 million viewers. Combined with "The Practice," which attracted 18.9 million viewers at 10 p.m., ABC easily outpaced the competition: the season premiere of "The X-Files" on Fox (17.8 million) and dueling mini-series on NBC and CBS. On the former, part 1 of "The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns" was seen in 15.8 million homes, while on the latter, 13.2 million homes were tuned to part 1 of "Shake, Rattle and Roll."
Locally, though, those numbers didn't always hold. "60 Minutes" outperformed "Annie," 139,000 viewing households to 123,000. "Leprechauns" still proved more popular than "Shake, Rattle and Roll," 111,000 vs. 102,000, but "The X-Files" season premiere finished a distant fourth in its time period, with 60,000 viewers.
Of interest to veterans
Tomorrow on "The Marc Steiner Show," Veteran's Day will be observed with author James Hopkins discussing his book, "Spearhead: A Complete History of Merrill's Marauder Rangers." Hopkins himself was one of Merrill's Marauders, a famed Army infantry unit that fought in China, Burma and India during World War II.
"The Marc Steiner Show" airs noon-2 p.m. weekdays on WJHU-FM (88.1).
Television viewers can celebrate what was once known as Armistice Day, the day World War I ended, with a look at the Maryland Air National Guard on MPT, Channels 22 and 67. "Citizens, Soldiers, and Marylanders" (8 p.m.-9 p.m., repeats midnight-1 a.m.) traces the history of the Maryland guard from Revolutionary days to its recent duty patroling the Iraqi no-fly zone. It also chronicles guard members' peacetime efforts, including community work with Coats for Kids, Santa Claus Anonymous and the Maryland Special Olympics.
Also tomorrow, C-SPAN plans live coverage of Veteran's Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery for 11 a.m.-noon.
Larry Manetti, Tom Selleck's co-star on the long-running "Magnum, P.I." series, was in town last week for a series of book signings to promote his memoir of the show, "Aloha Magnum."
The book was co-authored by Baltimorean Chip Silverman, perhaps better known locally as one of the "Diner" guys immortalized in Barry Levinson's 1982 film. "The crowds were great," Silverman says of Manetti's five local appearances. "In fact, at three of them, the book sold out." But apparently, that was nothing compared to Honolulu, where "Magnum" is regarded with the same sort of fervor Baltimoreans reserve for the late, lamented "Homicide."
"In Hawaii, he couldn't walk two steps down the street without people knowing him and wanting to talk to him," Silverman said. "We sold 250 books in one hour in Honolulu; I'd never seen anything like that."
CNN begins technology show
CNN will offer a new on-ramp to the information highway beginning Saturday.
"CNNdotCOM," a half-hour program spotlighting consumer-oriented technology, will combine news reporting and advice on developing technologies. Co-anchors on the program will be Perri Peltz, who has worked as a correspondent for both ABC's "20/20" and "Dateline NBC," and James Hattori. "CNNdotCOM" is a joint effort from CNN and Boston-based International Data Group (IDG), which publishes 290 newspapers and magazines worldwide dedicated to information technology. The program will be on 12: 30 p.m. Saturdays and 4: 30 p.m. Sundays.
Radio awards announced
Michael Filippelli and Merrie Street, a.k.a. "Michael & Merrie In the Morning" on WLIF-FM (101.9), went home with Best Morning Show honors from yesterday's Achievement In Radio awards.
Other winners included Kristie McIntyre, WXYV-FM (102.7), midday; Bob Delmont, WPOC-FM (93.1), afternoon drive; Priestly, WXYV-FM, evening; Scott Davies, WWMX-FM (106.5), overnight; Ron Smith, WBAL-AM (1090), talk show host; and Art Sinclair, WCBM-AM (680), sports reporter; David Zurawik, WJHU-FM (88.1), long-form interview. The awards are given annually and are voted on by Baltimore radio personnel and representatives of the March of Dimes, which use the event to raise money.
TV's top shows
Here are last week's top TV shows, according to A. C. Nielsen Co. figures:
1 ER NBC 19.5
2 Friends NBC 15.5
3 Who Wants to Be a Millionaire --Sunday ABC 14.9
3 Monday Night Football: Seattle at Green Bay ABC 14.9
5 Wonderful World of Disney: Annie ABC 14.2
6 Frasier NBC 14.0
7 60 Minutes CBS 13.4
8 NFL Monday Showcase ABC 13.0
9 The Practice ABC 12.7
10 Jesse NBC 12.3
11 Ally McBeal Fox 11.8
11 (tie) Everybody Loves Raymond CBS 11.8
13 JAG CBS 11.7
14 Stark Raving Mad NBC 11.3
15 Judging Amy CBS 11.0
16 Becker CBS 10.6
16 (tie) The X-Files Fox 10.6
18 CBS Wednesday Movie: At the Mercy of a Stranger CBS 10.1
18 (tie) Providence NBC 10.1
20 Diagnosis Murder CBS 10.0
The rating is the percentage of homes equipped with a TV in use.