While the most news-worthy ratings event has been CNN’s dramatic surge of viewership during the Gulf war, pre-war there was some noteworthy action in primetime entertainment programming.

NBC, in Week 17 – which also marks the beginning of the network’s “second season”- logged its best weekly season-to-date average (a 14.4 rating/23 share in Nielsen) and finished the week on Jan. 13 with a 2 ratings point advantage over its nearest competitor, CBS. That net averaged a 12.4/20, marking the biggest gap between first and second place thus far in the ’90-’91 season.

To win, NBC had taken four nights (Tuesday through Thursday, plus Saturday). It received booster shots from three specs – a two-hour “Hunter” on Wednesday, the “NAACP Image Awards” on Friday and the “Bob Hope From Saudi Arabia” spec on Saturday – plus an improved slate on Sunday. That night saw “NBC News: America: Are We Ready For War?” posting a 10.4/16 at 7 p.m., and “Real Life With Jane Pauley” and “Expose” improving by 33% and 17%, respectively, over their debut shows the week prior.

NBC’s much-hyped “DarkShadows” averaged a 13.8/22 for its Sunday Jan. 14 debut and Monday night followup – the lowest miniseries score this season.

Other debuting-series scores were CBS’ “Good Sports,” with an 11.2/17 second-place start on Thursday, 18% higher than predecessor “Doctor, Doctor” and a lackluster 6.8/11 for ABC’s “Under Cover’s” first outing in its regular time period. (“Cover’s” numbers helped dump followup “Twin Peaks” to its season low.)

ABC News’ “A Line In The Sand: War Or Peace?” on Monday at 8 p.m., which logged an 18.1/27, was the best scoring news special season-to-date.

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