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'3rd Rock' on a Roll

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John Lithgow’s spaced-out new NBC sitcom, 3rd Rock From the Sun, blasted off in 7th place, building significantly on its lead-in, Wings (32nd), and beating the rerun of Home Improvement (9th) ABC scheduled opposite it. NBC responded by immediately ordering a full season’s worth of 3rd Rock episodes. But the numbers for another new comedy, ABC’s Champs (14th), starring Timothy Busfield and Kevin Nealon, weren’t nearly as impressive. The debut series from DreamWorks SKG lost more than 25 percent of Home Improvement‘s audience. And there was more bad news for ABC: In its new Monday-at-10 time slot, Steven Bochco’s critically acclaimed Murder One (69th) got slaughtered by CBS’ Chicago Hope (13th), which is proving to be almost as tough a foe as ER.

TOP 20 LAST VIEWERS* WEEK

1 31.9 SEINFELD (R) NBC, Thursday, 9 p.m. 2 2 28.0 HOME IMPROVEMENT ABC, Tuesday, 9 p.m. 9 3 27.5 CAROLINE IN THE CITY NBC, Thursday, 9:30 p.m. 4 4 27.1 FRIENDS (R) NBC, Thursday, 8 p.m. 3 5 25.4 ER (R) NBC, Thursday, 10 p.m. 1 6 23.2 THE SINGLE GUY NBC, Thursday, 8:30 p.m. 6 7 23.0 FRASIER NBC, Tuesday, 9 p.m. 38 23.0 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN NBC, Tuesday, 8:30 p.m. – 9 22.2 HOME IMPROVEMENT (R) ABC, Tuesday, 8:30 p.m. – 10 21.9 MURPHY BROWN CBS, Monday, 9 p.m. – 11 21.6 THE NANNY CBS, Monday, 8 p.m. – 12 21.5 NYPD BLUE ABC, Tuesday, 10 p.m. – 13 21.2 CHICAGO HOPE CBS, Monday, 10 p.m. – 14 20.8 CHAMPS ABC, Tuesday, 9:30 p.m. – 20.8 CYBILL CBS, Monday, 9:30 p.m. – 20.8 GRACE UNDER FIRE ABC, Wednesday, 9 p.m. 15 20.8 ROSEANNE ABC, Tuesday, 8 p.m. 23 18 20.0 FAMILY MATTERS ABC, Friday, 8 p.m. 24 19 19.6 20/20 ABC, Friday, 10 p.m. 16 20 19.5 TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL CBS, Saturday, 9 p.m. 24

BOTTOM 10 101 4.0 UNHAPPILY EVER AFTER WB, Wednesday, 9:30 p.m. 96 4.0 UNHAPPILY EVER AFTER (R) WB, Sunday, 9 p.m. – 103 3.8 SISTER, SISTER (R) WB, Sunday, 8 p.m. 93 104 3.6 KIRK WB, Sunday, 8:30 p.m. 98 105 3.4 UNHAPPILY EVER AFTER (R) WB, Sunday, 9:30 p.m. – 106 2.8 NOWHERE MAN (R) UPN, Monday, 9 p.m. 99 107 2.2 DEADLY GAMES UPN, Tuesday, 8 p.m. 100 108 1.8 PINKY & THE BRAIN (R) WB, Sunday, 7 p.m. 103 1.8 SIMON WB, Sunday, 7:30 p.m. 102 110 1.6 LIVE SHOT (R) UPN, Tuesday, 9 p.m. 104

*IN MILLIONS WEEK OF JAN. 8-14, 1996 (R) RERUN SOURCE: NIELSEN MEDIA RESEARCH

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