Reading Is Fundamental

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 13, 2004 | Go to article overview
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Reading Is Fundamental


Byline: Christian Toto, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Reading is fundamental

WETA-TV (Channel 26) tries to light a fire under young readers this weekend with a new program geared toward children ages 7 to 12.

"Reading Rocks," airing Sunday morning at 9, is an upbeat special aimed at children who have difficulty reading.

The Disney Channel's Nick Spano ("Even Stevens") hosts the special, which uses wacky humor and hip-hop music to give hope to children who are learning to read.

"Reading Rocks" also features a child author, a claymation movie and a segment with children from the Lab School of Washington in Northwest.

A 'Friend'-ly boost

"Friends" was a pal to the end for NBC.

The sitcom's swan song boosted the network to its best weekly showing in two years, the Associated Press reports.

Last Thursday's "Friends" finale, which drew about 52.5 million viewers, was the top-rated entertainment show on any network since the "Seinfeld" finale six years ago.

The final moments with Ross, Rachel and company became the fourth-most-watched series finale in TV history, behind CBS' "M*A*S*H" (106 million) and NBC's "Cheers" (80.4 million) and "Seinfeld" (76.3 million).

Overall TV viewership has splintered in recent years with the expansion of cable choices, making final episodes less likely to draw "M*A*S*H"-style numbers.

NBC had even more to crow about, according to Nielsen Media Research figures. Besides the top-rated sitcom, the network also aired the most-watched drama series ("ER") and TV movie (part two of the earthquake drama "10.5").

That programming punch gave the Peacock its best showing in two years among total viewers and matched its highest non-Olympic weekly rating in more than four years among viewers 18 to 49.

CBS, on the other hand, owned the reality realm. The network's "Survivor All-Stars" finale and subsequent reunion show finished with 24.8 million and 23.9 million viewers, respectively.

NBC averaged 14.9 million viewers in prime time for the week of May 3 through 9 (5.4 rating, 15 share), besting CBS' 13.2 million (4.8 rating, 13 share). NBC also won among viewers 18 to 49, the demographic group it most craves.

A ratings point represents 1.084 million households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 108.4 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

For the week of May 3 through 9, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships were: "Friends," NBC, 52.

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