Alphabet Web scorches competish in rate race

ABC has weathered the low-viewership July 4 holiday weekend and come home first in the June 28-July 4 prime time Nielsen competition.

CBS finished just a tick behind in households but wasn’t close in adults 18- 49, and now has run last among the Big Three in that key category 11 out of 12 weeks.

Even in households, CBS has led just one out of the last 10 weeks after having dominated the regular season with 22 wins in 30 weeks (including a tie).

The Independence Day holiday dragged NBC down to the second-lowest weeklong rating in its history and worst ever in a week that didn’t include coverage of a national political convention. Fox Broadcasting Co. also swooned in the heat of the summer holiday, falling to its lowest weeklong rating since at least the summer of 1990.

ABC’s victory was keyed by nightlong wins on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and second-place finishes on the other three nights.

The Alphabet Web’s most exceptional performer was vidpic “The Last P.O.W.?: The Bobby Garwood Story,” which accomplished for a second consecutive week something ABC had done onlyonce in the previous 13 months — win the Monday 9-11 p.m. slot with a movie. (ABC scored with “Dead-Bang” a week earlier.)

Last week’s averages among adults 18-49: ABC, 4.8 rating, 17 share; NBC, 4.1/ 15; CBS, 3.9/14; Fox, 3.1/12.

This week CBS looks to be getting back on the winning track, with victories on Monday and Tuesday.

Tuesday

“Rescue 911” (11.0/21) and the “Triumph of the Heart” rerun vidpic (9.9/18) delivered the Eye’s victory on Tuesday of this week, CBS’ fifth Tuesday title in a row. “Dateline NBC” (11.4/21) won the 10-11 p.m. hour for the Peacock for the first time in seven weeks.

Monday

CBS’ regular lineup edged out ABC’s “Preppie Murder” vidpic (10.1/19) on Monday of this week, giving CBS its first Monday win in six weeks.

Sunday

ABC easily took the night among adults 18-49 when the firstrun theatrical “Lean on Me” more than doubled the feeble 9 share among adults 18-49 turned in by CBS’ rerun vidpic “Mrs. Lambert Remembers Love.” CBS still led the night routinely in households.

Saturday

Fox prevailed in the adults 18-49 demo while NBC snuck ahead in households for just the second time in the last 31 Saturdays. The Peacock was aided by a 5 -share surge from “Reasonable Doubts” in its second week back on the Saturday team.

Usual Saturday household winner CBS was done in when rerun vidpic “Stompin’ at the Savoy” fell through the floor, plunging to CBS’ second-worst Saturday 9- 11 p.m. share since last Thanksgiving weekend.

Fox’s “Front Page” is starting slowly, last week equaling Fox’s worst Saturday 9-10 p.m. share since last Aug. 8. Fox notes that last week’s shares did improve in the age 18-34 demographic.

Friday

ABC is having no problem with the summer Friday competition, though “Home Free” has lost the 9:30 half-hour five straight weeks.

CBS’ summer tryouts “Cutters” (down 19% from its “Golden Palace” lead-in, the Eye’s biggest dropoff in the slot since last Sept. 11) and “Johnny Bago” (CBS’ lowest rating there in eight weeks) are struggling, but are still doing better than NBC’s “Blossom” and “Out All Night.”

Thursday

“PrimeTime Live” is dominating the 10 p.m. hour against punchless summer competition, scoring as the top-rated newsmagazine for three weeks in a row. That allowed ABC last week to sneak ahead in the Thursday households race, though NBC still owns the night in the important adults 18-49 category.

CBS won the 8 p.m. Thursday hour in households for the first time since Jan. 7 with “Top Cops.”

Wednesday

“Home Improvement,” the week’s top-rated show, continues to almost singled-handedly win Wednesdays for ABC, with only “Coach” among its schedule mates avoiding third-place finishes last week.

CBS’ promising “Family Dog” lost just 4% of its solid premiere numbers in its second try at 8 p.m.

Tuesday

CBS has now made it four Tuesday wins in a row and counting, as once again ABC’s 8-9:30 p.m. advantage was squandered by the post-“Roseanne” fade of “Room for Two” and “Jack’s Place.”

CBS’ rerun vidpic “When No One Would Listen” led those three half-hours, impressively finishing just 1% below the movie’s firstrun rating last Nov. 15.

NBC’s “Route 66” started strong in early June but has taken a wrong turn, last week reporting NBC’s second-worst share since Jan. 5 in the beleaguered Tuesday 8 p.m. hour. At 9, “South Beach” is suffering similar erosion.

Monday

ABC made it two Monday wins in a row, thanks to the “Last P.O.W.” telepic (Daily Variety, June 30).

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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