More than 13 million American homes were tuned to ABC and Peter Jennings when the U.S.-led forces first attacked Iraq, giving the network's news its highest ratings ever.
ABC's total for Jan. 14 to Jan. 20 was about 4 million households higher than its closest competitor, according to figures released by the A.C. Nielsen Co. The attack began Jan. 16.ABC and Jennings earned a 14.8 average rating. NBC and Tom Brokaw earned 10.4 for their war coverage, followed by CBS and Dan Rather with 10.1.
The ratings represent the networks' regular evening news broadcasts. Each ratings point represents 931,000 homes.
Cable News Network, whose highly acclaimed reports periodically featured the only live broadcasts from the Iraqi capital under siege, broke all cable ratings records last Wednesday by earning a 19.1 average. That figure represents 10.8 million cable households out of a total of 56.8 million.
The Nielsen broadcast network ratings are averaged to reflect viewership among the nation's 93.1 million TV households. Cable ratings are averaged to reflect viewership among the nation's 56.8 million cable subscriber homes. The two sets of ratings are not equivalent.
Weekly ratings for CNN were not available.
CBS won the overall prime-time network race, with a rating of 13.8. ABC was 12.4 and NBC 12.1
In a week marked by two nights of continuous news pre-emptions, the top 10 list of entertainment programs was headed by the CBS Sunday newsmagazine "60 Minutes" and followed by its post-game show of the National Football League showdown between the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants.
In third was ABC's "Roseanne." CBS' "Murder She Wrote" was fourth.
Monday's ABC prime-time news special "A Line in the Sand," broadcast two days before U.S.-led forces attacked Baghdad, finished fifth. It earned the network's highest ratings ever for a news special.
CBS' Monday night lineup of "Murphy Brown" and "Designing Women" tied for sixth, followed by NBC's "Matlock" on Tuesday.
ABC's live coverage of Wednesday's bombing was ninth. "In the Heat of the Night" on NBC was 10th.
NBC's Wednesday war coverage ranked 15th. CBS' initial bombing coverage finished 30th.
Nielsen included prime-time newscasts without commercials in its rankings but did not figure the newscasts' viewers in the overall prime-time ratings.
Here are the top 20 programs, their network and listing: 1. "60 Minutes," CBS; 2. "NFC Championship Post-Game," CBS; 3. "Roseanne," ABC; 4. "Murder, She Wrote," CBS; 5. "A Line in the Sand," ABC; 6. (tie) "Designing Women" and "Murphy Brown," both CBS; 8. "Matlock," NBC; 9. "Special Report," (Wednesday) ABC; 10. "In the Heat of the Night," NBC.
11. "The Golden Girls," NBC; 12. "Who's the Boss?," ABC; 13. "ABC Monday Night Movie - The Whereabouts of Jenny," ABC; 14. "Family Matters," ABC; 15. (tie) "Full House," ABC and "NBC News - America at War," NBC; 17. (tie) "CBS Sunday Movie - Lonesome Dove, Part 1" and "Empty Nest," NBC; 19. "Coach," ABC, 14.9; 20. "ABC Sunday Night Movie - Raiders of the Lost Ark."