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''Once and Again'' is losing the Tuesday-night ratings battle

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Kim Delaney, Andrea Thompson
Bob D'Amico

Not so long ago, ABC was worrying that ”NYPD Blue” would be female-repellent in its old Tuesday slot. That they worried about adult women at all was thanks to CBS’ surprise success ”Judging Amy.” So ”Blue” got temporarily shelved and the Alphabet counterprogrammed with its own ode to X-chromosome maturity, ”Once and Again.”

What a difference a few weeks makes: With ”Once” now clearly struggling against time-slot winner ”Amy” (the latter regularly outranks the ABC drama among total viewers and women 25?54), ”Blue” — with its competitive average of a 19 share among women 18?49 (versus ”Amy”’s 16) — is looking like a veritable chick magnet. To insure that Steven Bochco’s seven-year-old drama not only holds on to its female fans but attracts more, the Jan. 11 premiere will begin with a multi-episode arc involving Det. Diane Russell (Kim Delaney) and Det. Jill Kirkendall (Andrea Thompson), whose ex-husband returns to wreak havoc.

If that doesn’t lure the ladies, there’s also a new hunk, Henry Simmons (”Above the Rim”), who will partner with Det. Greg Medavoy (Gordon Clapp) by episode 7. Says Dayna Kalins, president of Steven Bochco Productions, ”It’s silly to count us out with women.”

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