NBC won the ratings race last week for the 37th consecutive week - just three short of the record of 40 consecutive weeks set by CBS in the 1960s, it was reported Tuesday.
The network took six of the top 10 shows for the week, and all of them were regular series. Even more significant, NBC was not represented at all in the bottom 10 - its lowest-rated show was "Miami Vice," tied for 59th on a list of 73 programs on the three networks.The ratings for the week ending March 5, according to the A.C. Nielsen Co., gave NBC a 16.0 rating and a 26 share. CBS and ABC were tied, each with a 12.6 rating and a 20 share.
In the struggle for second place for the season, CBS has edged ahead of ABC as both of those networks define the season.
ABC and CBS have contended the season did not start until Oct. 24, because the Writers Guild strike delayed the debuts of new series well past the normal September start date.
Using the CBS-ABC season, NBC leads with a 15.8 rating and a 26 share, while CBS inches into second with a 12.9 rating and a 21 share, compared to ABC with a 12.8 rating and a 21 share.
NBC has maintained the season began Sept. 19, a year after the start of the previous season. In that version, NBC leads with a 16.1 rating and a 26 share. ABC is second with a 12.9 rating and a 21 share and CBS comes in last with a 12.6 rating and a 20 share.
In the battle of the Sunday movies, NBC's theatrical film, "Manhunter," ranked 25th. The CBS three-hour "Day One" was in 29th and ABC's "Penthouse" with Robin Givens was 43rd.
NBC was able to boast that its Sunday schedule - without Angela Lansbury and "Murder, She Wrote" to compete against - took the entire 8-11 p.m. time period.
"One possible reasons for that is that three-hour specials or movies generally do not do as well as two-hour movies or specials," said Mary Jean Cavanaugh of NBC research.
ABC proved again that position is everything in programming. The network previewed its new sitcom, "Coach," after the megahit "Roseanne." The preview came in 11th in the ratings. The next night the show went into its regular time slot, after "Head of the Class," and tied for 45th.
The new CBS assault on the 8 p.m. time slow, "Hard Time On Planet Earth," came in 63rd.
Fox continues to compete with the big guys with two of its shows. "Married With Children" tied with a Friday night "Hunter" repeat for 54th place, and "America's Most Wanted" came in 57th, right after "Wiseguy."
"CBS Evening News" with Dan Rather held onto first place in the tight news category, winning with an 11.5 rating and a 20 share. ABC's "World News Tonight" with Peter Jennings was second with an 11.2 rating and a 20 share, while "NBC Nightly News" with Tom Brokaw was third with a 10.5 rating and a 19 share.
Each ratings point represents about 904,000 households and a share is the percentage of TV sets tuned to a particular show.
The top 10 prime time shows for the week ending March 5, according to the A.C. Nielsen Co., were: 1. The Cosby Show (NBC); 2. A Different World (NBC); 3. Roseanne (ABC); 4. Cheers (NBC); 5. Golden Girls (NBC); 6. 60 Minutes (CBS); 7. Who's the Boss? (ABC); 8. Wonder Years (ABC); 9. Empty Nest (NBC); and 10. Dear John (NBC).
The second 10 consisted of: 11. Coach (ABC); 12. Matlock (NBC); 13. Unsolved Mysteries (NBC) and Night Court (NBC); 15. Amen (NBC); 16. Growing Pains (ABC) and ALF (NBC); 18. Columbo (ABC); and 19. Head of the Class (ABC) and The Hogan Family (NBC).
The week's big losers (not counting Fox) were: 70. Dolphin Cove (CBS) and Great Circuses of the World (ABC); 72. Murphy's Law (ABC); 73. TV 101 (CBS); 74. Heartbeat (ABC); and 75. A Fine Romance (ABC).