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Kevorkian Ratings Make Season High

November 23, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ The video of Dr. Jack Kevorkian giving a terminally ill man a lethal injection probably gave ``60 Minutes″ its highest ratings of the TV season.

The CBS show drew a preliminary 15.7 rating Sunday night, Nielsen Media Research said Monday. That means an estimated 15.6 million households were tuned in.

The newsmagazine’s average rating this season was 12.8, or an estimated 12.7 million households watching every week.

The solid numbers came during the last Sunday of the crucial November ``sweeps″ period, when ratings are used to set local advertising rates. Networks traditionally run some of their strongest programming during ``sweeps″ months.

Sunday’s ratings will have to be adjusted to account for the six CBS affiliates that refused to air the segment. Affiliates owned by Dallas-based A.H. Belo Corp. in Houston; San Antonio; St. Louis; New Orleans; Tulsa, Okla.; and Spokane, Wash. broadcast local news instead of Kevorkian. It’s not likely to have much effect on the overall rating.

CBS received a heavier-than-normal volume of e-mail about the segment, which was narrated by Mike Wallace, and some religious leaders criticized the network for running it.

Kevorkian said it was the first time he had ever delivered a lethal dose to a patient himself. The patient had Lou Gehrig’s disease.

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