By Stephen M. Silverman
April 30, 2003 01:00 PM

Once a guaranteed ratings winner, Michael Jackson proved last week that he’s no longer the man he used to be.

“Michael Jackson’s Home Videos,” a FOX special that kicked off the latest sweeps period last Thursday, attracted only 7.8 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Compare and contrast that to the 27.1 million people last February who watched Jackson’s train wreck of an interview on ABC with British journalist Martin Bashir — which sparked a whole rash of other Jackson specials.

But controversial music acts still draw on TV, given that 13.4 million people did watch Diane Sawyer’s interview last week with the Dixie Chicks, their first sit-down since Natalie Maines poked fun at President Bush during a London concert.

That special proved to be ABC’s most popular show of the week.

Beyond that, the usual suspects filled up the Top 10, which for the week of April 21-27 consisted of the following:

1. “CSI,” CBS, 25.2 million viewers
2. “ER,” NBC, 20.9 million
3. “Friends,” NBC, 20.7 million
4. “American Idol,” Tuesday, FOX, 20.6 million
5. “Friends,” NBC, 20.2 million
6. “American Idol,” Wednesday, FOX, 19.5 million
7. “CBS Sunday Movie,” CBS, 18.3 million
8. “Survivor: Amazon,” CBS, 18.1 million
9. “Law & Order,” NBC, 18 million
10. “Will & Grace,” NBC, 17.7 million

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