Ben and Jen help lead NBC to ratings victory. Their ''Dateline'' interview, along with several helpings of''Law & Order,'' give NBC the week

By Gary Susman
July 22, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck may or may not have convinced anybody that they’re really just ordinary homebodies, or that we should all go see their film ”Gigli” when it opens Aug. 1, but they did get viewers’ attention with their hour-long ”Dateline” interview on Thursday. Some 10.6 million people tuned in, according to Nielsen, making it the seventh most-watched show of the week, helping push NBC to a victory in the weekly ratings race.

In a week dominated by reruns of NBC’s ”Law & Order,” CBS’ ”CSI,” and their spinoffs (five such shows made the top 10), NBC averaged 7.9 million viewers throughout the week, followed by CBS at 7.8 million. (Also helping NBC a little were the debuts of two new reality shows, ”Who Wants to Marry My Dad?” at No. 20, and ”The Restaurant” at No. 33.) Fox had the most-watched show of the week, baseball’s All-Star Game, which drew 13.8 million fans, but the net finished third for the week, with an average of 6.7 million. ABC, which landed only one show in the top 30 (”America’s Funniest Home Videos,” No. 23), finished in fourth place with 5.2 million viewers. UPN drew just under 3 million viewers, and the WB averaged 2.6 million.