Blacks', Whites' Viewing Habits Mesh

New York— Initiative Media's latest annual "African-American Television Viewing Study" found that black and white viewers last fall had "the most common viewing ground in at least 10 years."

Nine of the 20 top-rated programs are favorites among both black and white households, vs. only seven last year, according to the media-buying firm.

Ad spending in targeted African-American fare in fourth quarter '02 was "at its highest level in five years"—at $168.4 million in total ad spending, including $84.1 million in broadcast-network TV and $54.6 million in cable's BET.

Initiative Media said, in the fourth quarter, black households watched Lifetime more than runners-up ESPN and BET.

African-American homes account for 12% of U.S. TV households but, IM noted, those viewers watch far more than the general population (76.8 hours weekly, the highest level in eight years).

CBS placed five shows among the top 20 (led by CSI: Crime Scene Investigation); ABC, Fox and UPN four apiece; and NBC three. ABC's top show was My Wife & Kids, Fox's Cedric the Entertainer Presents (the overall black favorite), UPN's One on One and NBC's Law & Order.

A&E Nabs CSI: Miami Off-Net Rights

New York— A&E has secured cable rights to forensic drama CSI: Miami
from King World Productions, which is distributing the CBS Productions, Bruckheimer Television and Alliance Atlantis drama. A&E will pay up to $1 million per episode for off-net rights to strip CSI: Miami
beginning in fall 2006. A&E also gets rights to replay the early seasons beginning this fall, for about $100,000 to $150,000. These episodes must air out of prime time.

Fox & Friends Stays on a Roll

New York— For the second straight week, Fox News Channel's morning show Fox & Friends
notched higher viewership than CBS News'Early Show. For the week of April 7-11, Fox & Friends
attracted 2.86 million viewers vs. Early Show's 2.77 million. NBC's Today show had the largest audience, with an average 6.55 million viewers; on ABC, Good Morning America registered 4.84 million.