City loves home-grown show

January 24, 1998|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC

How much does Baltimore love "Homicide: Life on the Street"?

More than any other city in the country loves its prime-time, hometown series, according to Nielsen Media Research.

In its winter 1998 "Television at a Glance" survey, Nielsen took top-rated series set in various cities and compared national ratings for those shows with ratings in their hometowns. The most loyal hometown was Baltimore.

While "Homicide" earns a 7.7 rating nationally, it garners a 15.5 rating here. Percentage-wise, that edges out Cleveland, where "The Drew Carey Show" earns a 22.5 rating compared with the 11.4 it gets nationally. (A rating equals a percentage of all television sets in the market in question.)

Baltimore is the only city where the percentage of local viewing is more than twice as large as the national, though Cleveland and several other cities best Baltimore in size of the audience for their hometown shows.

Using the percentage of local vs. national ratings as the yardstick, third place in the prime-time loyalty sweepstakes goes to New York and "NYPD Blue," with Seattle and "Frasier" in fourth. Chicago finishes fifth in its support of "ER."

In fairness to the other contenders, one of the reasons the percentages favor "Homicide" is that its national audience is the smallest among the five. With 98 million homes with TVs in America, the 7.7 rating translates to 7.5 million homes tuned to "Homicide" each week, while "Drew Carey" is seen in 11 million American homes.

Locally, about 153,000 Baltimore television homes -- or roughly one out of every six homes in the Baltimore area -- tunes into "Homicide" Friday nights at 10. There are 988,040 households with TVs in the Baltimore area.

Pub Date: 1/24/98

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