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THE COMEBACK KID

Who needs George Clooney? Sherry Stringfield’s much-hyped return to ER (1st) was greeted by 26.7 million viewers, up a hefty 5 million from the previous week. CBS’ Survivor: Africa (6th), on the other hand, lost more than 4 million viewers in its second week. The WB debuted two shows to drastically different results. The midriff-baring girls of Popstars 2 (110th) fizzled, while the superboy of Smallville (62nd) soared, giving The WB its highest Tuesday- night numbers since Dawson’s Creek’s ’98 debut. Elsewhere, gaps between odd-couple lineups–NBC’s endearing Friends (2nd) and annoying Inside Schwartz (17th); The WB’s homespun 7th Heaven (53rd) and ghoul-centric Angel (93rd)–widened. And, thanks to Yankee fever, Fox’s baseball playoffs (8th) proved more sporting than ABC’s waning Monday Night Football (21st).

TOP 30

LAST VIEWERS* WEEK

1 26.7 ER NBC, Thursday, 10 p.m. 6 2 25.6 FRIENDS NBC, Thursday, 8 p.m. 1 3 23.0 CSI CBS, Thursday, 9 p.m. 4 4 21.6 EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND CBS, Monday, 9 p.m. 7 5 20.8 THE WEST WING NBC, Wednesday, 9 p.m. 3 6 19.6 SURVIVOR: AFRICA CBS, Thursday, 8 p.m. 2 7 19.3 LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT NBC, Wednesday, 10 p.m. 20 8 18.8 BASEBALL: DIAMONDBACKS VS. BRAVES YANKEES VS. MARINERS Fox, Sunday, 8 p.m. 57 9 17.5 BECKER CBS, Monday, 9:30 p.m. 10 10 17.3 JAG CBS, Tuesday, 8 p.m. 12 11 16.3 THE PRACTICE ABC, Sunday, 10 p.m. 16 16.3 WILL & GRACE NBC, Thursday, 9 p.m. 8 13 16.1 JUDGING AMY CBS, Tuesday, 10 p.m. 15 14 15.7 YES, DEAR CBS, Monday, 8:30 p.m. 21 15 15.5 FRASIER NBC, Tuesday, 9 p.m. 17 16 15.4 LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT NBC, Friday, 10 p.m. 11 17 15.1 INSIDE SCHWARTZ NBC, Thursday, 8:30 p.m. — 15.1 THE GUARDIAN CBS, Tuesday, 9 p.m. 19 15.1 THE KING OF QUEENS CBS, Monday, 8 p.m. 18 20 14.8 60 MINUTES CBS, Sunday, 7 p.m. 13 21 14.7 FOOTBALL: REDSKINS VS. COWBOYS ABC, Monday, 9:07 p.m. 14 22 13.9 JUST SHOOT ME NBC, Thursday, 9:30 p.m. 9 23 13.1 LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT NBC, Sunday, 9 p.m. 20 24 12.7 SCRUBS NBC, Tuesday, 9:30 p.m. 33 25 12.5 MY WIFE AND KIDS ABC, Wednesday, 8 p.m. 42 12.5 CROSSING JORDAN NBC, Monday, 10 p.m. 23 27 12.1 THE DISTRICT CBS, Saturday, 10 p.m. 28 28 11.9 PROVIDENCE NBC, Friday, 8 p.m. 27 11.9 ACCORDING TO JIM ABC, Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. 45

*IN MILLIONS WEEK OF OCTOBER 15-21, 2001 SOURCE: NIELSEN MEDIA RESEARCH

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