Cinderella, X-Files Score Big

It really was the wonderful world of Disney on Sunday night. The back-to-back threat of the lavish musical Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella and the tear-jerker Oprah Winfrey Presents: Before Women Had Wings helped bring the network to its highest-rated night of regular programming in seven years, and lead ABC to a crucial ratings win on the first Sunday of November sweeps.

The $12 million Cinderella, starring Brandy, Whoopi Goldberg, and Whitney Houston, averaged an 18.4 rating and a 27 share (one ratings point equals 980,000 households; a share is the percentage of the households tuned in to a specific show) from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., effortlessly winning its timeslot and giving ABC the highest performance in that timeslot in thirteen years. The network estimates that about sixty-million viewers tuned in for the fairy tale. Before Women Had Wings, which aired from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., built on that lead, ending with an 18.7 rating and a 27 share.

The season premiere of The X-Files, which answered none of the burning questions from last season, drew the largest audience among the 18 to 49 crowd, averaging a 15.8 rating and a 31 share from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. This was the Fox show's highest ratings ever in the adult demographic, and its second-highest household ratings, after its post-Superbowl episode last January. It finished second behind Women in households with a 16.1 rating and a 22 share.

ABC's Sunday-night movies powered the network to a ratings win for the week of October 27, knocking NBC off its perch. The network came in first with an 11 rating and 18 share, compared with NBC's 9.8 rating and 16 share and CBS's 9.4 rating and 15 share.

The top ten shows of the week:

  1. ER, NBC, 20.6 rating/33 share
  2. Seinfeld, NBC, 20.3 rating/31 share
  3. Before Women Had Wings, ABC, 18.7 rating, 27 share
  4. Cinderella, ABC, 18.4 rating/27 share
  5. Veronica's Closet, NBC, 17.5 rating/26 share
  6. Monday Night Football, ABC, 16.8 rating/32 share
  7. Friends, NBC, 16.3 rating/26 share
  8. The X-Files, FOX, 16.1 rating/22 share
  9. Touched by an Angel, CBS, 14.7 rating/21 share
  10. Frasier, NBC, 14.4 rating/22 share