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RATINGS IMPROVE EVER SO SLIGHTLY FOR 2ND `BOYS OF TWILIGHT' EPISODE

The ratings for the made-in-Park City series "The Boys of Twilight" actually improved a bit this past week - but only a tiny bit.

Would you believe a total of 1 percent? And that's a 1 percent increase on the first week's numbers, which were pretty atrocious."Boys" finished No. 66 for the week, averaging an 8.8 rating and a 17 share. (Each ratings point represents 921,000 homes. A share is the percentage of televisions in use tuned to a specific program.)

Those are very anemic numbers. But, on the up side, there's this to consider:

- During the first half-hour, "Boys" tied with ABC's "The Commish" for second with an 8.6/16. "Sisters" led with an 8.7/16.

- During the second half-hour, "Boys" improved its rating to a 9.0/17 but remained in second place - "Sisters" fell to an 8.2/16 but "Commish" improved to a 9.3/18.

- CBS says "Boys" led in all male demographics.

However, there's more than a bit of bad news from that second outing:

- A 1 percent improvement is negligible.

- The numbers for "Boys" were slightly behind those for "The Commish" - and that ABC show is on the verge of cancellation.

- And, most importantly, "Sisters" was a rerun. Competing with a new episode of that NBC series the week before, "Boys" was blown away by 2.6 ratings points.

On balance, there still isn't much to indicate "The Boys of Twilight" has a future on CBS.ONE MORE TIME: Despite the fact that this fallacy has been repeated several times, it's sheer fantasy to believe that KSL's handling of "The Boys of Twilight" has had any impact on the show's ratings.

Various supporters from Park City and the Utah Film Commission tried to make a case that if KSL had pre-empted the first installment of "Boys" (something Ch. 5 never intended to do - it was always looking for a different time slot), it would greatly hurt the ratings. They pointed out that KSL is seen in all or part of five states, implying that a Ch. 5 pre-emption would cause grave damage to the national ratings numbers and prevent the show from being renewed, thus harming Utah's economy.

These people were undoubtedly sincere, but they also misinformed. The general manager of one of KSL's competitor's summed it up - "What a bunch of baloney!"

Let's just look at the numbers.

According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the total number of households in the Salt Lake television market - including those in other states - is 617,720. A national ratings point represents 921,000 households, so every household KSL reaches represents two-thirds of a rating point.

In other words, if 100 percent of the households that receive KSL were not only watching TV but were watching "The Boys of Twilight," it would raise the show's ratings a total of .6 ratings points.

Being somewhat more realistic - but very generous - let's assume 60 percent of the households in KSL's broadcast area were watching TV from 9-10 p.m. on Saturday. And, again being extremely generous, let's assume 40 percent of those households were watching "The Boys of Twilight."

That would add a grand total of .16 rating point to the national numbers.

And for even that to make any difference, you would have to assume that the network ratings experts were incapable of factoring an affiliate's pre-emption into their calculations. Let me assure you, these are statistical wizards who are more than capable of making those adjustments.

In other words, even if KSL never ran "The Boys of Twilight" it would have no influence on whether the show is picked up by the network.MEDIOCRE: Having watched the second episode of "The Boys of Twilight" this past Saturday, the kindest comment I can make is - mediocre at best.

Back on Feb. Feb. 24, I wrote that the show was "Poorly written. Full of cliches. Inane. Unfunny. Silly. And, above all, boring."

Nothing in the second episode changed my mind.REACTION: This is not to say that everyone else agreed. Which is fine - as a critic, I'm expressing my own opinions.

However there's no ulterior motive behind my opinion. Marilyn Toone, director of the Central Utah Film Commission, wrote in to say that she was "dismayed" with my review.

"It was especially negative, even angry. I wonder what he's so upset about? I fail to see the reason for all his venom towards a locally produced network project."

Another woman - who it turns out co-wrote one of the scripts for "Boys" - called in insisting that it was my personal vendetta against Wilford Brimley that led to the negative review.

And the casting director called to inquire about the "hateful" review.

Well, first, I wasn't angry at all when I wrote the review. I don't hate anyone involved in producing it. And I've never even met Brimley, so it would be difficult to hold a grudge against him.

Toone went on to say, "Being a Deseret News television editor, I would have thought he'd advocate on behalf of the viewing public for the opportunity to see new programming (especially one produced in Utah) allowing the public to make up their own minds."

Excuse me? A critic should advocate any new program, simply because it's new?

Lawrence Smith, producer services director of the Utah Film Commission, wrote that the Feb. 24 review " . . . only adds insult to injury. I think his generic attack could be said of 90 percent of the bona fide hits on television. Somehow they succeed. Why not "The Boys of Twilight." With friends like this, who needs enemies?"

Just one problem. I'm not paid to be a friend of the Utah Film Commission. I'm paid to express my honest opinions.

Should I do less than that, I would not only be dishonest but I'd be doing readers a disservice.

Toone and Smith are of the opinion that a TV critic in Utah should temper his opinions simply because a show is produced in Utah. I disagree. Using that line of reasoning, if a show like "Married . . . With Children" or "The Adventures of Mark & Brian" where filmed here, I'd be required to be one of their biggest boosters.

That's not going to happen.

It's extremely interesting that my review of "The Boys of Twilight" elicited just five responses from the "public" - two came from people directly involved in the show (the casting director and the script writer) and two came from people with vested interests in the show's success (employees of the Utah Film Commission and the Central Utah Film Commission.)

Only one letter has arrived from a disinterested party - Judy Mansell of Fruit Heights. She and her 55-year-old husband loved the show, and she concluded by telling me, "You are in the wrong generation for this show. You need an older assistant."

Now, this is a valid point. "Boys" was designed to appeal to an audience considerably older than me. And I'm not a big fan of similarly designed shows like "Murder, She Wrote" and "Matlock."

What I do strive for is some degree of consistency. That way, readers who disagree with me constantly (and I know you're out there) can be guided by my reviews. They can sit home and say, "If he hates it, we'll love it."RATINGS: CBS squeaked out a win last week, averaging a 13.0/21 to ABC's 12.9/21 and NBC's 12.0/20. Last week's top 10 shows were:

1. "6O Minutes," CBS; 2. "Roseanne," ABC; 3. "Murphy Brown," CBS; 4. "Happy Days Reunion," ABC; 5. "Home Improvement," ABC; 6. "Full House," ABC; 7. "Murder, She Wrote," CBS; 8. NBC Monday Movie: "Woman With a Past"; 9. "Designing Women," CBS; 10. "Young Indiana Jones," ABC.