CBS has moved back into first place in the primetime Nielsens race, bookending the July 5-11 week with Monday-Tuesday and Saturday-Sunday victories that left the competition far behind.ABC and NBC remained stuck at the ratings levels of the previous week, which saw a big viewer exodus for the July 4 holiday. That meant a repeat of the Peacock’s second-lowest weeklong rating ever, and for ABC it’s another week down at the web’s lowest ratings levels since last Aug. 31-Sept. 6. Part of NBC’s problem was anemic results from rerun multiparters. On Sunday “The Gambler Returns” equaled NBC’s weakest share in that slot since last Sept. 13, and on Friday Part 1 of “A Woman Named Jackie” tied the net’s worst share there since Jan. 1. Last week’s victory was a welcome one at CBS, which had triumphed just once during the previous 10 weeks. CBS also moved into second for the week among adults 18-49, only the second time in 13 weeks it has finished better than third by that key measure. Last week’s adults 18-49 averages were: ABC, a 4.9 rating, 16 share; CBS, 4.6 /15; NBC, 4.0/13; Fox Broadcasting Co., 3.6/12. CBS got less encouraging results in the evening news race, where the Dan Rather-Connie Chung newscast has been fading and last week fell to third place behind NBC’s news. It’s only the third time since last October that CBS has fallen into the evening-news cellar. CBS can probably count on another weeklong primetime victory this week, thanks to last night’s baseball All-Star Game, traditionally one of the top-rated events of the summer. Monday CBS has taken the first step toward that possible victory by winning Monday this week. ABC had a disastrous night with “The Jim Thorpe Pro Sports Awards” (5.9/10), which fell to the Alphabet Web’s worst Monday 9-11 p.m. share since last Aug. 31 . That put ABC fourth for the night behind Fox’s “Weekend at Bernie’s” rerun (7 .8/14), the second-highest-rated Fox Monday pic in the weblet’s last nine tries. NBC was a competitive second for the night when Part 2 of “The Gambler Returns” (9.6/17) improved by 25% over Sunday’s Part 1. CBS’ “Harlan & Merleen” pilot (9.1/17) won the 8:30 p.m. half-hour in households, though “Blossom” (9.0/16) still dominated the slot in adults 18-49. CBS’ “Love & War” (10.0/17) and “Northern Exposure” (10.9/19) led their slots for the first time since May 3. Sunday CBS equaled its best Sunday share in nine weeks to sweep the night’s half-hours and take the night in adults 18-49. Fox’s “Danger Theater” showed promise in its debut, equaling the weblet’s best regular-series share that half-hour since April 11 and inching into third in the slot ahead of ABC’s “World of Discovery.” Saturday CBS breezed in Saturday households. As usual, however, Fox and NBC fared better among adults 18-49. ABC fell deep into fourth with its lowest Saturday nightlong share since July 26, 1992 (against the Barcelona Olympics), thanks to the worst “Young Indiana Jones” rating ever. Not helping was the “Country Estates” pilot, which tumbled to the net’s worst Saturday 9 p.m. share since March 20. Friday ABC tightened its grip on the night by bringing back the long-gone “Perfect Strangers,” which allowed the net to win the 9:30 p.m. half-hour for the first time in six Fridays. It was also the best perf for ABC in that slot, relative to the lead-in rating, since May 15, 1992. NBC’s Friday lot continues to worsen. Last week “A Different World” hit NBC’s lowest share in the 8-8:30 Friday half-hour since Jan. 1 and “Out All Night” dozed to the Peacock’s worst share in the following half-hour since last Oct. 23 . But taken together, it was the lowest 8-9 p.m. share for NBC in at least 11 years. Thursday NBC still leads Thursday in adults 18-49, though “Sisters” dragged the Peacock down to third for the night in households. By contrast, slot competitor “Picket Fences,” also renewed for a different timeslot this fall, is building a passable Thursday audience in households and young-adult demos. “Picket” lined up just 2 shares behind “Sisters” among women 18-34, a “Sisters” target audience. ABC took the night in households but was last among adults 18-49. Wednesday ABC stayed first in adults 18-49, but NBC was able to squeeze out its first non-basketball Wednesday households win since April 28 thanks to the reality spec “Caught in the Act.” Not since last Oct. 7 has regular NBC series programming done better that hour than “Caught’s” 18 share. Tuesday CBS won its fifth straight Tuesday as “Rescue 911″ swept the 8 p.m. hour for the first time in seven weeks (Daily Variety, July 8). Also, the Eye Web’s “Triumph of the Heart” rerun telefilm won the 9-11 p.m. slot despite failing to lead any individual half-hour. Monday CBS broke a five-week Monday winless streak but lost the night’s last three half-hours to ABC’s rerun of “The Preppie Murder” vidpic (Daily Variety, July 8 ). 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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