Winning’s As Easy As ABC

ABC won its third consecutive week in a row, taking Week 21 with a 12.8 rating/21 share in Nielsen, the first time since late 1981 that the network has annexed three in a row. Just a smidgen behind, NBC, with a 12.7/21, pulled itself out of third place after a three-week sojourn there. CBS had a 12.2/20 for the week.

No individual program propelled ABC to its win, but there was strong help from Wednesday night’s “Barbara Walters Special” and “Anything But Love” – which returned to the sked with a 14.6/23 debut that won its time period – and the entire Friday slate.

Most notably on Friday, “Family Matters” had its best numbers ever, an 18.3/31 that earned it a tie for eighth place with Walters’ special. The Friday sweep also saw season highs for “Perfect Strangers” (15.5/26) and “Going Places” (13.6/23).

Still another boost for ABC came on Sunday, Feb. 10 from “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (19.2/29) and “America’s Funniest People” (18.8/28), which ranked third and tied for fourth, respectively.

The February sweeps numbers, at the halfway mark, were tighter than a drum, with all three major webs bracketed at a 20 share on Wednesday, Feb. 13. Only a 0.2 separated first place from third – which means any web can win the sweeps period.

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