Weakest Link lends NBC Monday muscle

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NBC's new game show The Weakest Link was certainly no weak link for the network.

Against strong competition on Fox and CBS, The Weakest Link won the 8 p.m. time period in adults 18-49 (5.7 rating/ 16 share), adults 18-34 (5.6/ 17) and total viewers (14.7 million), according to Nielsen's preliminary national research. Trailing The Weakest Link in the key adult 18-49 bracket were Fox's Boston Public (4.2/12) and CBS's King of Queens (4.6/13) and Yes, Dear (4.4/12).

Weakest Link's adult 18-49 score is the highest ever for a premiere of an NBC series since the 1998 debut Will & Grace, and was a 90% improvement over the time period's previous ratings average.

But for the total night, Fox (5.0) topped NBC (4.8) in adults 18-49 and CBS (13 million) edged out NBC (12 million) in total viewers.

An Everybody Loves Raymond rerun hit a 5.7/14 and drew 16 million viewers. Ally McBeal hit a 5.7/15 and drew 11.8 million viewers.

Meanwhile, ABC's movie treatment of Billie Jean King's victory over loudmouth Bobby Riggs, When Billie Beat Bobby bombed, hitting a 2.6/7 and drawing six million viewers. - Susanne Ault