`ER' ratings are off the charts

February 20, 1999|By David Zurawik

The farewell episode for Dr. Douglas Ross (George Clooney) of "ER" might have felt like a disappointment in terms of emotion and drama, but the ratings were through the roof, especially in Baltimore.

Thursday's episode of "ER" was the most-watched hour of the television season for WBAL (Channel 11), according to overnight ratings from Nielsen Media Research. It scored a 28.1 rating and 39 share, which means two out of every five television sets in use during the broadcast was tuned to "ER" in the Baltimore market. That translates to 278,190 homes.

By comparison, this year's Super Bowl earned only a 27.4 rating and a 38 share, for an audience of 271,260 area homes.

"That's a record for us," said Wanda Queen Draper, director of public affairs for WBAL. "Generally, the gold standard on ratings is the Super Bowl. To do a number and a share higher than that is rare and extremely exciting."

Baltimore was above the national average, a 23.8 rating and 37 share, for cities with overnight meters.

Pub Date: 2/20/99

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