BOB GARFIELD: In 1996 only one show hit it big with both black and white viewers -- ABC's Monday Night Football. Not so this past fall. 8 shows turned up in the top 20 for both groups - the two weekly editions of Who Wants to be a Millionaire - then Monday Night Football -ER - the Practice - Touched by an Angel - 60 Minutes and Judging Amy. UPN's The Parkers with a mostly black cast ranked second among blacks but 119th among whites. Similarly the white blockbuster Friends ranked 65th among black viewers. We sent On the Media's Dave Serchuk up to Harlem to see how far Friends had penetrated there. Frankly, it made us doubt the ratings data because it did pretty well!
MAN: How's it going. We're doing a piece on TV. Who's your favorite Friend?
CHILD: Mine's Julie.
WOMEN: I would say Rachel.
WOMEN: Ross's girlfriend - what's her name? Jennifer Aniston?
MAN: Phoebe. Yeah.
MAN: Why is he your favorite?
WOMEN: Cause could he be any funnier?
MAN: I haven't - I'll have to tell you the truth -I haven't seen it. I'm a musician. I'm never home.
MAN: I don't watch the show. I don't like it. Everything-- everything's sex, sex, sex, and I don't go for that.
MAN: I'm interviewing people about the show Friends. I wanted to find out who their favorite Friend was.
WOMEN: Phoebe! And Joey. Joey and Phoebe are the funniest people on Friends.
MAN: Rumors are they might get together this year, you know.
WOMEN: I think that would be good. They should get married and have some kids.
MAN: But the kids would ruin the show!
WOMEN: Nah, nah, nah - wouldn't ruin the show! Then if all of them can have kids and then their kids can be friends and grow up and we'll have another serial!