'Knight Rider' movie revs NBC

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NBC rode the "Knight Rider" TV-movie to a Sunday night primetime victory, giving the backdoor pilot a virtual lock on a spot in the network's fall schedule.

Meanwhile, Fox Sports' Daytona 500 coverage on Sunday afternoon averaged 17.8 million viewers, according to preliminary estimates released Monday by Nielsen Media Research. That's up 1% from last year's 17.5 milion and is the network's second-best rating for a Daytona 500 race on Fox. The top in the ratings was 2005.

But the primetime victor was "Knight Rider" (12.7 million, 5.0 rating/12 share in adults 18-49). The remake of the '80s TV series was the best 18-49 rating for a TV movie since March 2005's "Their Eyes Were Watching God." It ran over everything in its path at10 p.m., including the CBS premiere of Showtime's "Dexter" and a new episode of "Brothers & Sisters." "Knight Rider" is considered to be a backdoor pilot. With numbers like that, it's also likely a shoo-in to return as a series in the fall.

"Dexter," on the other hand, came in a distant third place in 18-49 at 10 p.m. "Dexter" averaged 8.1 million viewers and a 2.3/6 in the demo, in the dust behind "Knight Rider" but also behind ABC's "Brothers & Sisters" (8.5 million, 3.0/7).

Only at 9 p.m. did "Knight Rider" run into some bumps up against the last hour of ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (13.5 million, 4.5/11 for the full two hours) that beat it in viewership and narrowly edged it in the demo. Doing OK was Fox's "Family Guy" (7.2 million, 3.6/8). "Extreme Makeover" won at 8 p.m as well against a new episode of "Big Brother" (6.7 million, 2.2/5) as well as NBC's "American Gladiators" (7.3 million, 3.0/8).

For the entire night, NBC (10 million, 4.0/10) won in 18-49 over ABC (11.1 million, 3.7/9); CBS (9.2 million, 2.1/5); Fox (7.3 million, 3.2/8); and The CW (838,000, 0.3/1).
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