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TV Note: New 'Survivor' falling short of its predecessor's ratings

Tuesday, October 23, 2001

"Survivor: Africa" appears to be burning far less brightly than its predecessors, suggesting that the ratings torch for last season's most-watched series might begin to flicker out faster than CBS and industry pundits anticipated.

An estimated audience of 19.6 million people watched Thursday's "Survivor," reflecting a drop of 20 percent from the previous week's premiere and a loss of more than 10 million viewers compared to the average for the second edition, which ran from February into May.

In that respect, there has been a seeming reversal of fortune on Thursday nights, with a reinvigorated "Friends" (25.6 million viewers) easily beating "Survivor," while CBS's second-year drama "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (22.7 million) dominated the following hour against NBC's sitcoms "Will & Grace" and "Just Shoot Me."

Notably, NBC's latest newborn to occupy the traditionally ill-fated post-"Friends" slot, "Inside Schwartz," already appears to be on shaky legs, tumbling 40 percent -- which translates to more than 10 million viewers -- off of "Friends' " audience level, about twice the decline deemed respectable for a new program paired with an established hit.

(Brian Lowry, Los Angeles Times)

Stopped in its tracks

ABC has pulled the plug on "The Runner," an eagerly anticipated reality TV show that was being produced by actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.

The network said it was worried about how a series in which people try to hunt down a citizen, the runner, as he travels across the country would be received after the terrorist attacks.

(Associated Press)

'Third' gets second showing

Cable's A&E network will rerun the two-hour unscripted episode of NBC's "Third Watch" that dealt with the World Trade Center attack.

The episode "In Their Own Words," in which executive producer John Wells interviewed real New York emergency personnel, will run again Friday at 9 p.m.

(Lisa de Moraes, The Washington Post)

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