Salman Rushdie surfaced on CBS' "60 Minutes," coming out of hiding long enough to make the program the most-watched show on television last week.
NBC won, just barely, in the overall ratings, placing four shows in the top 10, the A.C. Nielsen Co. said. "Cheers" was No. 2, and "The Cosby Show" and "Empty Nest" tied for eighth, followed by "A Different World."Fox and "The Simpsons" suffered their worst ratings since original fall episodes began competing with "Cosby" three weeks ago. The animated Simpson family plummeted to No. 24. The show's Oct. 11 premiere ranked eighth.
An interview by "60 Minutes" correspondent Mike Wallace with Rushdie, who has lived in hiding since his novel "The Satanic Verses" led some Islamic leaders to issue a death sentence against him last year, helped the Sunday newsmagazine capture the No. 1 spot for the first time in the 6-week-old season.
"Cheers" had been No. 1 for most of the season.
Separated by only two-tenths of a ratings point, the three networks were led by NBC with a 12.5, followed by ABC with 12.4 and CBS with 12.3. Each ratings point represents 931,000 homes.
The top 10 was again dominated by longstanding hits, even though the season has had the most new shows in TV history. The highest-rated original fall program, at No. 20, was "America's Funniest People" - a spinoff of ABC's successful "America's Funniest Home Videos."
Here are the top 10 shows: "60 Minutes," CBS; "Cheers," NBC; "Roseanne," ABC; "Designing Women," CBS; "Murphy Brown," CBS; "Murder, She Wrote," CBS; "America's Funniest Home Videos," ABC; "The Cosby Show" and "Empty Nest, NBC (tie); "A Different World," NBC.