TV season's trends come into focus

Crime pays, families are back and reality doesn't bite. That's what Nielsen Media Research's ratings are telling network executives about the 2002-03 TV season.

Here's a snapshot of what happened in prime time over the past 13 weeks:


"CSI: Miami" -- This spinoff of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" quickly became CBS' top-rated 9 o'clock show and the most-watched new series of the season. The flagship edition on Thursday is up 24 percent and is now the No. 1 show in prime time.

ABC's family comedies -- "Eight Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter," "According to Jim" and "My Wife & Kids" have revived a left-for-dead genre and helped ABC turn around its ratings fortunes on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"24" -- The Fox thriller that plays out in real time is meaner and more popular in its second season. It's now the most-watched drama on Fox.

"The Sopranos" -- Longtime fans were craving more blood, but Tony & Co. averaged 11 million viewers a week on HBO, a record for a cable entertainment series.

"The Bachelor" and "Survivor" -- Proof that reality shows are here to stay. ABC's "The Bachelor" became a bigger hit in its second go-round. Ratings for CBS' "Survivor" have held up as it heads for its sixth edition.


Old favorites in new time periods -- CBS' "Becker," NBC's "Just Shoot Me" and Fox's "Malcolm in the Middle" saw their ratings tumble when moved out of their previous comfy time slots.

David E. Kelley -- Its hard to apply the term "loser" to someone married to Michelle Pfeiffer. But the once-red-hot writer-producer's "girls club" was canceled by Fox after two episodes. Ratings are down for his other Fox series, "Boston Public," and ABC is moving "The Practice" to 8 p.m. Mondays, a tough assignment for a slumping, 6-year-old show.

"The West Wing" -- With the exception of the fading "Just Shoot Me," the Emmy-winning White House drama has lost more viewers than any other NBC series this season.

"Enterprise" -- The latest "Star Trek" spinoff is losing altitude in just its second season on UPN.


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