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'Spy TV': Critics No, Nielsens Yes

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Three sitcoms, led by “Everybody Loves Raymond,” made it into the Nielsen Top 10 last week, while most viewers favored quiz shows and reality TV — including the new, critically reviled “Spy TV.” Reviewers generally considered the NBC show a mean-spirited version of “Candid Camera.” (One segment featured a high-speed police chase and subsequent near-arrest of an innocent bystander. It turned out the stunt had been perpetrated on him by friends as part of a bachelor party.) Poor notices aside, NBC said “Spy TV” was the No. 1 most popular show among viewers aged 18-49 last week, only the fourth time that a program is known to have pulled off such an accomplishment upon its premiere. NBC is red-faced, however, over the discovery that a $92,000 winner on its “Weakest Link” turned out to be the ex-wife of NBC exec Ted Herbert (they split 15 years ago). Herbert oversees the show. His ex, Julie Harmon, will get to keep her money, and her episode, which NBC originally pulled, will air sometime next week. The most popular shows for the week of June 18-24:

1. “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” Tuesday, ABC, 9.8, 10.1 million homes
2. “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” Thursday, ABC, 9.5, 9.7 million homes
3. “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” Sunday, ABC, 8.9, 9.1 million homes
4. (tie) “20/20,” Friday, ABC, 8.8, 9.0 million homes
4. (tie) “48 Hours,” Monday, CBS, 8.8, 9.0 million homes
6. (tie)”Everybody Loves Raymond,” CBS, 8.2, 8.4 million homes
6. (tie) “Spy TV,” NBC, 8.2, 8.4 million homes
8. “Weakest Link,” NBC, 7.9, 8.1 million homes
9. “Becker,” CBS, 7.7, 7.8 million homes 10.(tie) “60 Minutes,” CBS, 7.4, 7.5 million homes
10. (tie) “Friends,” NBC, 7.4, 7.6 million homes