NEW YORK – Queen Latifah is becoming a TV star for CBS at a time broadcast networks can really use one, while Dwayne Johnson and Kenan Thompson made respectable sitcom debuts for NBC.
Latifah's drama, “The Equalizer,” was the most popular scripted show on television last week, the Nielsen company said, trailing only first-place “60 Minutes” and giving CBS a strong one-two punch on Sunday.
Johnson reached 5.3 million viewers for the premiere of “Young Rock,” the NBC comedy based on his life, enough to finish among Nielsen's top 20 shows for the week.
A million of those viewers drifted away last Tuesday for the debut of “Kenan.” The sitcom starring the long-running “Saturday Night Live” cast member as an Atlanta TV host and single dad reached 4.2 million viewers, Nielsen said.
A generation ago, numbers like that wouldn't be enough for a show to make a second week. But given network television's overall fade, and the chance for viewers to check out those series on a delayed basis, and NBC will no doubt take it.
For a typical week in February — no major sports events and virtually all prime-time shows airing original episodes — live viewership on ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC was down 18% from the same week last year, Nielsen said.
CBS won the week with an average of 4.6 million viewers in prime time. ABC had 3.9 million, NBC had 3.5 million, Fox had 2.6 million, Univision had 1.6 million, Ion Television had 1.1 million and Telemundo had 1 million.
Fox News Channel was the most popular cable network, averaging 2.42 million viewers in prime time. MSNBC had 1.91 million, CNN had 1.6 million, HGTV had 1.12 million and History had 1.01 million.