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NBC back on top of ratings

After two weeks with CBS on top, the television ratings race returned to form with NBC riding its powerhouse Thursday night lineup to a weekly ratings win.

Seinfeld was the week's most-watched show and is running just behind the vacationing ER as the top program of the year in Nielsen Media Research rankings released Tuesday.

For the week, NBC had a 9.9 rating and 17 share. CBS was second with a 9.1 rating and a 16 share, followed by ABC's 8.5 rating and 14 share and Fox's 7.4 rating and 12 share.

Four TV newsmagazines finished among the top 10 shows for the week. CBS' 60 Minutes, which featured an interview with presidential accuser Paula Jones, topped them all.

Law and Order, the show NBC tried out in ER's Thursday night time slot, finished in seventh place for the week. Prince Street had finished in 15th place in the same 10 p.m. time slot the previous week and was summarily canceled.

ABC's Arsenio, which finished in 21st place for its premiere, sagged to 47th in the ratings last week.

CBS' much-touted EZ Streets had a disastrous week. It finished in 88th place, and only a special post-NCAA basketball special showing of Everybody Loves Raymond finished lower for the network.

However, even EZ Streets did better than Fox's Pauly, which finished 92nd among 113 rated shows.

Among the two emerging networks, UPN led with a 3.5 rating and 6 share, while the WB had a 2.9 rating and 5 share.

A rating point represents 970,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 97-million TV homes. Share is the percentage of those televisions tuned to a given show during a specified time period.

For the week of March 10-16, the top 10 shows, their networks and ratings, were:

Seinfeld, NBC, 21.6; Friends, NBC, 18.7; Suddenly Susan, NBC, 17.7; The Naked Truth, NBC, 17.0; Touched By an Angel, CBS, 15.7; 60 Minutes, CBS, 14.5; Law and Order, NBC, 14.4; Dateline NBC _ Tuesday, NBC, 13.7; PrimeTime Live, ABC, 13.4; 20/20, ABC, 13.1.

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