In the fight between CBS’ unbathed castaways and NBC’s cuddly buddies, down and dirty has won hands down. For the third week in a row, ”Survivor” nailed the top ratings spot with nearly 30 million viewers. (”Friends” squeaked into third place behind ”ER,” with the help of 22.2 million devoted fans.) Even ”Friends” star Courteney Cox Arquette, 36, admits to being interested in the fight Down Under. ”On Thursday nights I’m either not watching anything or I’m watching ‘Friends,’ but I definitely switch over at some point to see who got kicked off ‘Survivor’,” she says, noting that she expects Internet projects manager Jeff Varner to get the bump next.
Still, Cox Arquette says the buzz on the ”Friends” set isn’t about who’s getting voted off the continent, but how her seven year old show is faring against the competition. ”NBC has come up with some good things to try to keep us surviving, like super sizing us,” she says. ”But I think we’ve done well, and in the 18 to 49 age range we’ve beaten ‘Survivor.’ So I think it’s going to be okay.”
Even though ”Survivor” is TV’s No. 1 show, Cox Arquette questions CBS’ decision to pit it against NBC’s highly rated ”Friends.” ”It’s weird they would put it on against such a popular show,” she says. ”If they were on any other night they’d have 60 million viewers alone instead of splitting the audience between the two of us.”
But TV ratings may not be a concern of hers for very long. Cox Arquette, who plays a conniving single mom in the Kevin Costner movie ”3000 Miles to Graceland” (opening Feb. 23), admits she’s hoping to focus solely on her film career when ”Friends” heads for the sitcom sunset (she and the rest of the cast are signed on for one more season after this one). ”It’s a long time to be on television,” she says. ”I like things that begin and end.”
Another new beginning for the actress — who married her ”Scream” costar David Arquette in 1999 ? may be kids: ”not right this minute, but relatively soon,” she says. Hey, maybe Monica and Chandler (Matthew Perry) will be buying cribs in an upcoming episode. ”I always thought, ‘What a great idea. If Monica’s going to get pregnant, what a nice time for me to do that,”’ Cox Arquette says. ”But I was talking to the producers about it, and they said, ‘You do what you do, don’t worry about us.’ So they don’t care.”
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