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Arresting development

10/15/2000 08:00:00 PM Eastern

Straight out of an unexplained case, Arrest & Trial's Oct. 9 weighted metered-market average (1.7/4) was 15% below both its lead-in average (2.0/4) and year-ago time-period average (2.0/5) yet prompted this response from producer Dick Wolf: "We're off to a very encouraging start. I don't want to jinx anything, but we're trending in the right direction."

But this puzzle is easily solved. Last Monday's numbers, according to Nielsen Media Research, were a healthy 21% higher than the show's Oct. 2 debut (1.4/3), which was 50% lower than its averaged lead-in (2.8/6) and 25% down from its year-ago average (2.0/4).

Arrest & Trial also posted a 3.1/5 last Monday on top-market station WWOR-TV New York, beating its Spin City lead-in (2.0/3) by 67% and topping its Oct. 2 debut (1.8/3) by 72%. In more good news, its Oct. 9 outing on KCOP(TV) Los Angeles (3.0/5) trumped the prior week's premiere (1.6/2) by 88%.

"That was a great way to start a Tuesday," says Wolf. "I don't expect those sorts of jumps every week, but I think people are finding the show and coming back."

The performances are more impressive, considering that, on both Mondays Arrest & Trial improved while going head-to-head with Monday Night Football on both wwor and kcop and in nine other top-20 markets. Not to mention that baseball playoffs are also vying for viewers' attention in Arrest & Trial's access dayparts.

Plus, Steve Rosenberg, Studios USA's president of domestic television, notes, "by being in access, [Arrest & Trial] is up against Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy and off-net sitcoms. So our competition is stronger vs. other [mostly daytime] rookie first-run efforts."

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