NEW YORK – NBC's Weakest Link, with "Goodbye Girl" Anne Robinson, continued its ratings dominance Tuesday night.
Link averaged 14 million viewers - lower than Monday's premiere (15.1 million viewers) but terrific numbers considering the show didn't air until 9:30 p.m., where it retained 100 percent of its Frasier lead-in.
And, for the second straight night, Link won the advertiser-coveted demographic of adults 18-49 - considered vital for any show's long-term success.
"NBC was the network that lobbied to get rid of household measurements and get people to focus on the adult 18-49 demo - that's what they're dependent on," says MediaWeek Online analyst Marc Berman.
"NBC had been third in adults 18-49 the last three weeks so it's imperative for them to do well in this demo. They're hungry for it.
"And I think this show would skew younger, anyway, because it's got more reality," Berman says. "The contestants bark at each other and complain - and younger viewers tend to be interested in that. It's like a mini version of Survivor.
"NBC just has to be careful - they don't want to overkill the show."
Viewership for Weakest Link actually grew as the show progressed, with 29 percent more people tuning in from 10 to 10:30 p.m. (compared to the 23 percent jump in second-half-hour viewership on Monday).
In a strange way, Weakest Link has had a beneficial effect on its ABC counterpart, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, hosted by Regis Philbin.
Tuesday's edition of Millionaire, which aired from 8 to 9 p.m., handily won its time slot, perhaps benefitting from two grand-prize winners in the last week.
Last night's telecast of Weakest Link was the last of three daily shows (Monday through Wednesday) before the show settles into its regular Monday-night timeslot on April 23.
"NBC has not had anything that's worked for them on Mondays since 1994-95, so maybe this is it," Berman says, rattling off the names of dusty TV shows like Blossom and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
"They've finally got something that has some promise."
NBC isn't wasting any time capitalizing on its newest programming phenomenon - with word leaking out that the network has commissioned Activision to create a video game out of the show.
Activision reportedly ponied up $1 million to snag video rights to Weakest Link, and hopes to have the game ready by September or October in England, where Link first debuted last year.
Activision hopes to introduce an American version this fall if NBC renews the show - which, based on its success so far, would seem to be a no-brainer.
The game would reportedly first be sold in PC, PlayStation and PlayStation 2 versions.
Disney-owned ABC has had terrific success with CD-ROM versions Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.