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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California • Page 84

Los Angeles, California
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LOS ANGELES TIMES F10 WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2001 'Bernie Mac Cracks Wise on Family National Nielsen Viewership Here are the rankings for national prime- ber of people who watched a program from time network television last week (Nov. 5-11) start to finish. Nielsen estimates there are Television Review By HOWARD ROSENBERG TIMES TELEVISION CRITIC CCrpi I he Bernie Mac Show" lights as many laughs as its star does fat cigars. And that's a bunch. Bold, creative and ferociously witty, Fox's new Wednesday night sitcom pours it on in opening The New Season back-to-back episodes that find Bernie (a popular stand-up comic playing a version of himself) being tormented by his nephew and two nieces whom he and his wife, Wanda (Kellita Smith), take in after their mother gets busted for drugs.

"What does Bernie Mac know about raising children?" sasses Wanda, too busy as an vice president to take much interest. "He tells 'Yo mama' jokes." His gorgeous contemporary home topsy-turvy, his "tough love" backfiring, Bernie is clearly overmatched by Vanessa Camille Win-bush), 13; Jordan (Jeremy Suarez), and Bryanna (Dee Dee Davis), 5, none of whom is typical of the wisecracking kids that regularly populate sitcoms. Vanessa soon is no longer speaking to him; Jordan is befuddling him with asthma attacks; and Bryanna flat-out the cutest kid on the planet is on him for not playing Barbies to her standards: "No, she have to walk 269 million potential viewers in the U.S. age 2 and older. Viewership is listed in millions.

Net- Vlew- Program work era 62 7th Heaven WB 7.84 83 48Hours CBS 7.71 64 Whose Uriels It? (8:30 p.m.) ABC 7.55 65 Cops (8:30 p.m.) FOX 7.54 66 That's Lile CBS 7.45 67 Cops FOX 7.44 68 Enterprise UPN 7.36 69 Three Sisters NBC 7.31 70 "Temptation Island Reunion" FOX 7.25 71 24 (Fri.) FOX 7.17 DarkAngel FOX 7.17 73 Whose Line Is It? (Wed.) ABC 7.12 74 America's Most Wanted FOX 7.02 75 The Ellen Show CBS 6.87 76 Temptation Island 2 FOX 6.82 77 Tick FOX 6.75 78 "Mission: Impossible" ABC 6.66 79 Smallville WB 6.63 80 Thieves ABC 6.58 SlWWFSmackdownl UPN 6.49 82 Once and Again ABC 6.47 S3 America 01 ABC 6.43 84 Gilmore Girls WB 6.11 85 Buffythe Vampire Slayer UPN 5.44 86 The Parkers UPN 5.42 87 One on One UPN 5.41 88 "Shakespeare in Love" NBC 5.33 89 Reba WB 5.30 90 Girlfriends UPN 5.29 91 Family Guy FOX 5.28 92 Charmed WB 4.75 93 Whose Line Is It? (Sat.) ABC 4.63 UPN 4.53 95 Angel WB 4.45 96 Special Unit 2 UPN 3.98 97 Maybe It's Me WB 3.94 98 Sabrlna. the Teenage Witch WB 3.86 99 Raising Dad WB 3.77 Dawson'sCreek WB 3.77 101 Ripley's WB 3.32 102 "Batman Forever" UPN 3.14 103 Nikkl WB 2.91 104 Felicity WB 2.79 105 Roswell UPN 2.74 106 The Steve Harvey Show WB 2.63 107Popstars2 WB 2.47 Off Centre WB 2.47 109 Men, Women and Dogs WB 2.39 A CBS Win: Two Specials, Most-Watched 'CSr Episode The unlikely tandem of the Country Music Assn. Awards and "I Love Lucy" played a spirited tune for CBS last week, as those specials combined with the most-watched episode yet of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" to lead the network to a first-place finish, based on viewing estimates issued Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research. "ER" also continues to attract solid tune-in despite "CSI's" dominance of the 9 p.m. hour versus the NBC comedies "Will Grace" and "Just Shoot Me," as the medical drama topped the prime-time standings for the third time in the last four weeks.

"Survivor: Africa" also ticked upward, to the third edition's best results since its premiere. Fox, meanwhile, got off to only a so-so start with its first wave of new-season program launches despite heavy promotion during the World Series. "Temptation Island 2" introduced last Wednesday before shifting to its regular Thursday slot averaged 7.9 million viewers for the two telecasts, less than half the audience averaged by the first edition. Fox mainstays "The Simpsons" and "Malcolm in the Middle" returned to solid ratings Sunday, but viewing for the ninth-season premiere of "The X-Files" slipped by a third compared to a year ago. The sci-fi series did face stiff competition from the "Lucy" anniversary show and ABC's uncut telecast of "Saving Private Ryan," the highest-rated theatrical movie in nearly two years.

Brian Lowry are based on the average nunv Net- Vtow- Program work era 1 ER NBC 26.85 2 CSI CBS 25.10 3 Friends NBC 24.24 4 Everybody Loves Raymond CBS 21.72 6 Survivor: Africa CBS 20.55 6 Will 4 Grace (8:30 p.m. NBC 20.09 7 The West Wing NBC 19.48 8 Will Grace (9 p.m.) NBC 19.16 Law Order NBC 18.96 10 'Saving Privale Ryan" ABC 17.87 11 CMA Awards CBS 17.79 12 Monday Night Football ABC 17.65 13 "I Love Lucy's 50th Anniver- CBS 17.56 sary 14 Becker CBS 17.00 15 JAG CBS 16.67 16 Law 4 Order: SVU NBC 16.20 17 Just Shoot Me NBC 16.11 UJNYPDBlue ABC 15.81 19 Malcolm In the Middle FOX 15.49 20 King of Queens CBS 15.42 21 The Simpsons FOX 14.91 22 JudgingAmy CBS 14.63 23Frasier NBC 14.47 24 Ves. Dear CBS 14.25 25 The District CBS 13.71 26 60 Minutes CBS 13.65 27 FOX 13.04 28 Dateline NBC (Fri.) NBC 12.86 29 That 70s Show FOX 12.43 30 Providence NBC 12.34 31 The Guardian CBS 12.18 32 Family Law CBS 12.00 33 -Uprising" NBC 11.99 34 Boston Public FOX 11.86 35 Law Order: Criminal Intent NBC 11.77 36 24 FOX 11.64 37TheAgency C8S 11.17 38 King of the Hill FOX 11.14 39 Millionaire (Mon.) ABC 11.08 40 Ed NBC 10.91 41 Scrubs NBC 10.90 42 Weakest Link (Sun.) NBC 10.85 43 CSI (Sat.) CBS 10.79 44 Touched by an Angel CBS 10.72 45 Millionaire (Sun.) ABC 10.69 46 Millionaire (Thu.) ABC 10.62 47TheX-Files FOX 10.60 48 My Wife Kids ABC 10.34 49AllyMcBeal FOX 10.20 50 Primetime Thursday ABC 10.07 51 Education of Max Bickford CBS 9.81 52 According to Jim ABC 9.71 53 Dateline NBC (Mon.) NBC 9.70 54 Dateline NBC (Tue.) NBC 9.45 55 The Drew Carey Show ABC 9 29 56 Dateline: NBC (Sun.) NBC 8.94 57 Temptation Island 2 Preview FOX 8.93 58 2020 (Wed.) ABC 8.86 59 Spin City ABC 8.75 60 UC: Undercover NBC 8.62 61 'Funny FlubsScrew Ups 8' CBS 8.52 Lowry: TV News Premium on Looks Network Averages Here is the number of viewers (in millions) that each network averaged per hour of prime time, for last week and for the season. Last Season Network week To date CBS 14.41 12.68 Continued from Fl tions use namely, that entertainment, sports or weather personalities adhere to different standards than hard-news anchors Mar-lane suggested that for any women within newscasts to be presented as "pieces of fluff' is not only "embarrassing and demeaning" but NBC 12.58 1283 ABC 11.30 10.37 FOX 9J51 10.98 UPN 4JS4 510 WB 429 most happy evenm it is." fe DOUG HYUN on "The Bernie Mac Show" on Fox. this comedy's path to survival may lead through Martin Sheen's Oval Office.

Despite his beloved stogies and regular card games with pals, "The Bernie Mac Show" is no African American "Uncle Buck," whose CBS sitcom version wallowed in gross-out humor for its own sake. The writing here by creator Larry Wilmore is plenty pungent (Jordan wetting himself becoming a running joke, for example), yet always on the mark and never gratuitous. In other words, yo mama. "The Bernie Mac Show" premieres tonight at 8:30 with back-to back The network has rated it TV-PG (may be unsuitable for young children). about having to be totally beautiful and totally sexy to be a newsreader." Brandwynne also acknowledged she was unhappy with the KTLA segment in which Tay modeled the "Charmed" wardrobe, saying it was inappropriate.

"I don't want to see her presented like that," Brandwynne said. "She's our early-morning anchor We made a mistake." (KTLA is owned by the Tribune as is the Los Angeles Times.) Then again, pleading guilty to such a misdemeanor sounds almost quaint given the gale-force winds blowing in that direction. It's a sweeps month, after all, which may explain why the "Victoria's Secret" fashion show will make its network debut Thursday, as ABC has perhaps appropriately chosen it to counter-program Fox's "Temptation Island 2." It's no secret, of course, what young women need do to thrive in the world of broadcast news, where the current rules only demand that they be energetic, astonishingly beautiful and never, ever grow old. An udder humiliation: A handful of readers noticed an embarrassing misstatement in last week's column, which mentioned that a cow punctured in the neck during "Survivor: Africa" was killed, which is untrue. I confess having tuned out before that precise moment, basing the reference on correspondence from a few squeamish viewers, which I should not have done.

Beyond regretting the error, I would particularly like to apologize to the cow and any damage that might have been done to her career prospects. After all, everyone knows how hard it is to land that first big break in Hollywood, what with all the pigs, wolves and jackals out there. Brian Lowry's. column appears Wednesdays. He can be reached via e-mail at brian.lowrylatimes TONIGHT AT 8 LISA HICOLE CARSON ELISA DONOVAN BIJOU PHILLIPS IN TIE MONOLOGUES B.TnsmffCTllW3...1..V.Vtmsm i iri ffr-J riiirniir 1 -Evan Henerson, Daily News OF HOST-RATE "A GALLERY Hhf -Joel Hirschhorn, Daily Variety most haw Jeremy Suarez, left, and Bernie Mac like this." Rarely has a grown man crying been as funny.

Bulging eyes tearing up, Bernie repeatedly pleads his case to the camera: "I should have the right to pop 'em up side of d'head." Of course, he never does, and none of this would work were not Bernie essentially lovable and his clashes with the kids so entertaining and widely applicable. As are his perilous encounters in side-splitting Episode 2 with kiddie germs at Bryanna's birthday party. To Bernie, a child is a "nasty disease-carrying midget." Fine stuff. But facing "The Bernie Mac Show" on NBC, unfortunately, is that impregnable hit, "The West Wing," meaning that also undermines their primary function, which is ostensibly to convey information. Moreover, in recent weeks viewers have seen how quickly a lighthearted morning show can be asked to transition to breaking news, where credibility does matter.

"You should not interfere with the message," Marlane said. "The way you dress should be in the background, not the foreground." Martha Lauzen, a professor at San Diego State University who has monitored roles for women in prime-time entertainment, sees some of the same issues affecting news. Lauzen has found that the number of women working behind the scenes on television series invariably influences women's onscreen status, both in raw numbers and in the manner in which they're depicted. In other words, the path to equality in front of the camera usually begins behind it. "Many of the things we can say about women in entertainment programming apply to women in news programming, which is their underrepresentation and misrepresentation as well as their said.

Though the obsession with youth has spilled over to men in certain arenas, it's hard to argue that a double standard exists in news, where the general norm for local anchor teams involves pairing a stately looking, middle-aged or older male with a young, attractive female. And one might point out that Asner's male counterparts peddling entertainment news haven't been lining up to appear on the cover of Playgirl. "KTLA Morning News" executive producer Marcia Brandwynne, who spent time as a local anchor at KCBS-TV and KTTV, expressed her own misgivings about the level of preening going on in television news. "I think it sends a terrible message," she said. "If I were coming up now, I would never get hired.

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