By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated May 08, 2002 04:40 PM

NBC not only celebrated being 75 last week, but it also managed to be No. 1. The network’s three-hour anniversary gala Sunday night was watched by 20.4 million people, according to the Nielsen ratings, but NBC also dominated the week as far as viewers were concerned, taking the lead during the important May “sweeps” period. Also, Bob Hope, who turns 99 on May 29, proved his enduring appeal, attracting 13.1 million people for an outtakes special that ran on Monday — better than the showing of Jay Leno’s primetime “Tonight” special, which had just under 12 million viewers. Still, notes the Associated Press, even with all the nostalgic programming, NBC’s most popular shows were regular airings of “ER” and “Friends” as they neared big events: Anthony Edwards’s departure from the medical series and the birth of Rachel’s baby on the sitcom. For the week, NBC averaged 15 million viewers; CBS had 12.1 million; ABC, 8.3 million; Fox, 7.5 million; the WB, 4.2 million; UPN, 3.7 million; and Pax TV, 1.1 million. During the week of April 29-May 5, the top 10 shows were as follows (a ratings point represents 1,055,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation’s estimated 105.5 million TV homes):