Oh, television ratings are such confusing things.
When the national numbers came out for last Thursday, they showed "The Cosby Show" pulled out an extremely narrow victory over the season premiere of "The Simpsons." "Cosby" totaled an 18.5 rating (good for No. 7 in A.C. Nielsen's weekly rankings), just ahead of "The Simpsons' " 18.4 (which tied for eighth).However, those numbers represent households, not the actual number of viewers. (Each ratings point equals 931,000 homes.)
Through their mathematical wizardry, the folks at Nielsen tell us that in actual number of viewers, "The Simpsons" was No. 1 last week with 33.6 million people tuned in. "Cosby" drew 28.5 million watchers, good for seventh place on the all-viewer listing. (Apparently, the families watching Bart are much larger than those watching Bill.)
No matter how you look at it, Fox is ecstatic over the results. "The Simpsons" pulled in the highest rating in FBC's history.
And NBC can't be particularly unhappy with the numbers for "Cosby" - they showed very little change from a week earlier. What this means is that a lot of people who don't normally watch TV on Thursdays at 7 p.m. tuned in to see "The Simpsons," while those who normally watch "Cosby" were still watching the Huxtable clan.
But while both NBC, which also finished first in last week's network race, and Fox have something to be happy about, CBS does not. Not only did the Big Eye finish third again last week, but the network's billion-dollar baseball gamble is a bust so far.
Game 6 between the Reds in the Pirates finished 25th, Game 5 was 27th and Game 4 was 37th. (Ouch! CBS was doing better with its regular lineup.)
And all four networks' new shows continue to struggle. "America's Funniest People" managed to place 12th, but that's not good when the leading, "America's Funniest Home Videos," finishes fifth. The next new show on the list was "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" way down at No. 29.
First-place NBC averaged a 13.7 rating and a 23 share. ABC was second with a 13.2/22, CBS third with a 12.0/20 and Fox way back with a 6.5/11.
THE TOP 10: 1. "Cheers," NBC; 2. "Roseanne," ABC; 3. "A Different World," NBC; 4. "Lucky/Chances" Part 3, NBC; 5. "America's Funniest Home Videos," ABC; 6. "60 Minutes," CBS; 7. "The Cosby Show," NBC; 8. (tie) "The Simpsons," Fox and "Who's the Boss?," ABC; 10. "Empty Nest," NBC and "Head of the Class," ABC.
30's POWER PROBLEMS: If you've been wondering what happened to KOOG-Ch. 30, the station experienced major technical problems last Friday at 6:23 p.m.
A KOOG power converter blew out, and the station had some trouble getting it fixed. But, if all went as planned, Ch. 30 returned to the air late Wednesday night.
If not . . . they're still working on it.