ABC wins week, CBS leads sweeps

ABC has ridden “The Thorn Birds” to the net’s biggest primetime Nielsens win since Academy Awards week March 29-April 4.

Last week’s “Thorn Birds”‘ rerun numbers were a mere fraction of the mini’s firstrun results in March 1983 (a 41.9 rating, 59 share, TV’s second-best mini numbers ever behind “Roots’ ” 45.0/66). But they were strong enough to propel ABC to the highest weeklong rating for any web in five weeks.

For its full 10 hours, “Thorn” averaged a 10.8/20, making it the highest-rated non-regular-season multiparter rerun since “Bluegrass” earned a 12 .0/22 on May 26 and 28, 1991.

But that mark was immediately eclipsed by ABC’s “Small Sacrifices,” which ended its two-night rerun on Monday of this week. “Sacrifices’ ” conclusion earned a 14.8/25, producing a two-night average 13.1/23 and putting ABC out front at the start of the current Nielsens week.

“Sacrifices” is now the top-rated non-regular-season rerun multi since “North and South” fought to 13.1/21 Oct. 18-23, 1988 (a year the season started late due to the writers strike).

Fox Broadcasting Co. also made big news last week, scoring its highest film rating ever with “Die Hard” on Monday (Daily Variety, July 21). That allowed Fox to top all three networks for the week among men 18-49 and to finish second for the week among adults 18-34.

The weeklong adults 18-49 averages were: ABC, 5.5/18; NBC, 4.3/14; CBS, 4.2/ 14; Fox, 3.9/13.

CBS still leads the July sweeps as of Sunday’s results. Eleven nights into the Nielsen period, it’s CBS, 9.5/18; ABC, 9.1/17; NBC, 7.7/15; Fox, 5.6/11. It was a long, hard week for NBC, which failed to win a single half-hour after Wednesday at 10 p.m. Thus, NBC was shut out of the lead by ABC and CBS for 28 consecutive half-hours. That streak included ABC’s first sweep of the Thursday half-hours since Sept. 13, 1984 (the week before “Cosby” premiered).

Sunday

ABC took the night among adults 18-49 with the first half of “Small Sacrifices,” but CBS won the night in households.

“Martin” looks like a good bet for the Fox Sunday schedule. Last week it scored as the first Fox show to improve on its “In Living Color” lead-in share in that 8:30 p.m. slot since a special “Simpsons” broadcast May 10, 1992.

Faring worse was “Tribeca” at 10 p.m., skidding to Fox’s worst share that hour since Jan. 31.

Saturday

CBS clung to first in households for the night but finished last in adults 18 -49. Fox won that race as its “Front Page” continued a slow build toward the levels of slot predecessor “Code 3.”

ABC took second in both households and adults 18-49 with the wrap-up of “Thorn Birds,” which equaled ABC’s best Saturday 9-11 p.m. share since March 13. NBC ran a close third as “Super Bloopers” remained at the best NBC share level in that slot since May 15.

Friday

ABC maintained its torrid Friday pace, sweeping the night’s half-hours (except for a 9:30-10 p.m. tie) for a third week in a row.

NBC lost 7% of its respectable “Mancuso FBI” rating in week two of its return. And “A Woman Named Jackie” ended its three-week rerun with an average 6. 0/12, making it the weakest-rated web multiparter since CBS reran “Till We Meet Again” May 22-23, 1992 (6.0/13).

Thursday

ABC won the night easily in households with its “Thorn Birds” boost, but NBC squeezed out an adults 18-49 victory on the strength of “Cheers” and “Seinfeld.”

“Thorn Birds” flew to ABC’s best Thursday 8-10 p.m. share since April 29 and was the first show to beat “Seinfeld” at 9:30 p.m. Thursday since “Queen” did it Feb. 18.

Wednesday

“Thorn Birds” helped ABC move back ahead on Wednesday, winning that night’s 10 p.m. hour for the Alphabet net for the first time in eight weeks. “Delta,” meanwhile, lost 30% of its “Home Improvement” lead-in rating, ABC’s worst perf in that slot since last Nov. 11.

Tuesday

ABC broke a seven-week CBS Tuesday winning streak with “Coach” and “Thorn Birds” minimizing ABC’s usual Tuesday post-“Roseanne” ratings plunge.

In the last two weeks, “Coach” has held 91% and 90% of its “Roseanne” lead-in , the two best ABC perfs in that slot in eight weeks. “Thorn Birds” winged to ABC’s top share in the 10 p.m. hour in that same eight-Tuesday span.

NBC won the 10 p.m. hour with “Dateline NBC,” which has scored as primetime’s highest-rated news magazine among adults 18-49 for three of the last four weeks.

Monday

Fox blew away the Monday competition with “Die Hard.” It was the first time Fox won a Monday without benefit of political convention coverage on the networks (Daily Variety, July 21).

Each rating point represents an estimated 931,000 households, or 1% of the country’s TV homes. The share is the same sort of percentage, except that it’s measured against only the households watching TV during the timeslot involved.

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