Bob Hope Special a TV Ratings Winner

08/06/2003 at 03:51 PM EDT

The quickly assembled CBS special, "Thanks for the Memories: A Bob Hope Tribute," which aired last Monday, the night after he died, scored big for the network, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The special was watched by nearly 9 million people and ranked No. 13 for the week. What's ironic about the ratings win is that for 60 years, Hope was a fixture on another network, NBC -- on both radio and TV.

NBC's decision not to rearrange its prime-time lineup to pay tribute to perhaps the biggest star in its history met with criticism in several quarters, the Associated Press reports.

"NBC blew it on a night when many viewers no doubt expected something special of the network that Bob Hope called home," Dallas Morning News columnist Ed Bark wrote.

NBC did run (twice) a three-minute Hope tribute that Monday between prime-time shows and has also been rerunning a gala special saluting Hope for his 100th birthday.

"We felt like we paid tribute to him during his life, although we did acknowledge his passing with two short tributes," NBC spokeswoman Jennifer Skorlich told AP on Tuesday. "It was the right decision for us."

As for the Top 10 shows of the week of July 28-Aug. 3, they were as follows:

1. "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," CBS, 13.2 million viewers
2. "Without a Trace," CBS, 12 million
3. "60 Minutes," CBS, 11.1 million
4. "CSI: Miami," CBS, 10.5 million
5. "Everybody Loves Raymond," CBS, 10.5 million
6. "Law & Order," NBC, 10.2 million
7. "The King of Queens," CBS, 10 million
8. "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," NBC, 9.9 million
9. "Friends," NBC, 9.8 million
10. "Who Wants to Marry My Dad," NBC, 9.6 million

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