THE BOOK OF LISTS: The 10 Top US TV programmes

1. Survivor. CBS, Sunday 28 January. TVR: 17.7.



The greatest survivors, obviously, are the television executives who

commissioned this tattered old pair of pants and then saw it, despite

all odds, climb to the top of the pile. But still, we can be smug that

it isn't the UK top ten, can't we? Robinson Crusoe goes Club 18-30.



2. ER. NBC, Thursday 17 May. TVR: 11.8.



Doctors, nurses, paramedics and all sorts of other caring professionals

in gowns (and those clog things they wear in operating theatres) get

together and smoulder in between stitching people up. Using surgical

sutures, obviously.



3. Friends. NBC, Thursday 27 September. TVR: 11.7.



The one where Joey gets his pension book nicked. The first decade of

these sitcoms is usually the best decade. Remember MASH? Where will you

be when they show the last episode of Friends?



4. West Wing. NBC, Wednesday 3 October. TVR: 9.4.



Epic, world-class, multi-stranded, subtly layered drama about

behind-the-scenes political manoeuvring in a fictional White House.

President Jed Bartlett, played by the awesome Martin Sheen, is so good

you'll want to vote for him.



5. CSI. CBS, Thursday 25 October. TVR: 9.2.



Stands for Crime Scene Investigation. This is an attempt to make

forensic scientists interesting for the forensic science they do, not

necessarily for their attempts to smoulder in between turns at the

microscope. As such, it's been bought over here by Channel 5.



6. Primetime Thursday. ABC, Thursday 23 August. TVR: 9.1.



Current affairs show. Which appears on Thursdays. In primetime. When

they named this one, they got it pretty much on the nail. Clever,

huh?



7. The Practice. ABC, Sunday 11 February. TVR: 8.9.



Lots of smouldering actors and actresses - but the really innovative bit

is the fact that they're not, in this instance, playing doctors and

nurses. No, in this one, they're lawyers. From the David E Kelley stable

- you know, things such as Ally McBeal, Chicago Hope, LA Law.



8. Millionaire. ABC, Sunday 11 February. TVR: 8.9.



This was clearly a good night for NBC, with Millionaire preceding The

Practice. In the US version of the show they interrogate mainly fat

people for some reason.



9. Law & Order. NBC, Wednesday 3 October. TVR: 8.4



This is US television's longest running drama series, now in its 12th

season. The wheeze is that the first half of the show is your

conventional cops and robbers, while the second half follows the case

through the criminal courts.



10. Raymond. CBS, Monday 24 September. TVR: 8.4.



You'd have to assume that the promotional campaign is true. Everybody

loves Raymond. But you have to wonder why. Stand-up comic Ray Barone

plays a happily married man who lives a homely life with his wife and

family. Only trouble is, Ray's meddling parents live directly across the

street. And boy do they meddle. With hilarious consequences. It's

somehow reassuring to discover the US can still produce turkeys like

this one.



Figures are for 1 January to 28 October 2001, and ranked by Television

Rating (all individuals). Figures courtesy of Nielsen and supplied by

Zenith Media.



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