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Eye web’s top ‘Dog’ once again

CBS has chased away the Nov. 29-Dec. 5 primetime Nielsens competition with the Hume Cronyn-Jessica Tandy vidpic “To Dance With the White Dog,” helping provide the network its seventh win out of 11 weeks this season.

“White Dog” wolfed down the highest rating for a single-episode telefilm since another “Hallmark Hall of Fame” presentation, “Sarah, Plain and Tall,” tilled a 23.1 rating, 35 share back on Feb. 3, 1991.

The movie skewed to an older audience but its household numbers were frisky enough to dig up a third-straight CBS weeklong victory and further bury ABC’s once-promising season-to-date challenge for the households lead.

ABC is still tops in the younger demos, winning the week’s adults18-49 race for the eighth time in the season’s 11 weeks. Last week’s averages in that demo were: ABC, 7.2/19; NBC, 6.7/17; CBS, 6.6/17; Fox Broadcasting Co., 4.5/12.

Leading the ABC charge was the week’s top-rated show, “Home Improvement.” The Tim Allen sitcom attracted nearly 10 million more viewers than any other program , according to ABC Research, which figures “Improvement’s” Wednesday 9 p.m. episode drew more than 40 million viewers. The closest anyone else came was “White Dog’s” 30.7 million.

Monday

ABC blitzed the competition on Monday of this week with its highest-rated “Monday Night Football” in 11 weeks. The Dallas-Philadelphia pairing booted an 18.0/30, breaking a five-week streak of unimpressive “MNF” results. ABC also equaled its best “Day One” numbers of the season (10.6/18).

CBS took second for the night, as “Frosty the Snowman” (14.1/22) and a special “The Nanny” (12.9/20) opened the Eye’s big-

gest Monday 8-9 p.m. lead since May 24.

Sunday

CBS beat the combined ABC and NBC scores for the night in households, though the older skew of its lineup, especially “To Dance With the White Dog,” meant the Eye won the night by just 2 shares among adults 18-49.

Still, “Dog” was mighty indeed in households. The last time even a multipart vidpic was able to top this latest Hallmark-sponsored telefilm was Nov. 18, 1992 , when part two of ABC’s “The Jacksons” strutted to a 23.9/36.

ABC’s latest “Flintstones” vidpic, “Hollyrock-A-Bye Baby,” fell 21% below last February’s comparable “I Yabba-Dabba Do” effort and 18% below what ABC’s regulars are averaging in the Sunday 7-9 p.m. block this season. NBC’s “seaQuest DSV” sunk to the network’s worst regular-season share in the Sunday 8-9 p.m. hour since last Jan. 17 with the first rerun “DSV” voyage. NBC’s “I Witness Video,” plus Fox’s “Martin,””Living Single” and “Daddy Dearest” all registered season-low shares, but “Martin” and “Living Single” still won the 8-9 p.m. hour among adults 18-49.

Saturday

CBS prevailed for an eighth-straight Saturday, though ABC’s “The Commish” beat “Walker, Texas Ranger” for its second time.

NBC’s “Leading Ladies of Hollywood” spec failed to equal any “Sisters” rating in that 10 p.m. hour this season.

Friday

ABC swept the night, though NBC sleighed to its second-best Friday 8-9 p.m. share in six weeks with a pair of original Yule spex and CBS posted its best “Picket Fences” rating of the season.

Four days after Raymond Burr’s last firstrun “Perry Mason” scored the highest “Mason” rating in more than 4 1/2 years, the next rerun “Mason” fell to the lowest regular-season rating for the vidpic series.

Thursday

NBC’s sitcoms navigated to an easy win, despite CBS’ “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” which rose above every CBS regular-series rating in the Thursday 8-9 p.m. hour in the four-plus years since Oct. 19, 1989 (“48 Hours”). “Rudolph” improved on its year-ago rating by 2%, making it “Rudolph’s” highest flight since ’89.

The Eye’s new soap “Second Chances” debuted with unspectacular numbers but still managed CBS’ second-best non-sports Thursday 9-11 p.m. share since premiere week.

“Herman’s Head” rolled to its best retention rate — 93% of its lead-in rating from “In Living Color”– since moving to the Thursday sked last August.

Wednesday

An extra “Home Improvement” built ABC an unassailable lead for that net’s fourth Wednesday win in a row.

Airing behind the third-highest-rated “Improvement” ever, 9:30’s “Grace Under Fire” blazed to its best numbers yet. Even so, the bound-for-hiatus “Moon Over Miami” has set low-share-marks for that series with 14 in each of its last two orbits.

NBC was a competitive second for the night, as “Law & Order” overruled slot rival “48 Hours” for just the second time ever, and did it with the highest “Order” share since Nov. 4, 1992.

Tuesday

CBS made things interesting with “Murder of Innocence,” its best-rated single-episode Tuesday pic since Sept. 28. “Murder” baffled “NYPD Blue,” which stumbled to its lowest numbers yet. ABC still prevailed for the night thanksto “Full House,””Roseanne” and “Coach.”

“Dateline NBC” reported aseason-high rating, helping NBC to its best Tuesday rating since Aug. 17.

Fox’s “Bakersfield, P.D.” held just 68% of its lead-in, the show’s worst retention yet and its lowest rating and share ever. Incompatibility with a special “Married … With Children” lead-in may have contributed.

Monday

The highest-rated “Perry Mason” vidpic since Feb. 12, 1989 won an easy verdict for NBC, aided by the highest Monday “Blossom” rating ever. A weak San Diego-Indianapolis “Monday Night Football” matchup fumbled to that series’ lowest share since Oct. 27, 1986 (Daily Variety, Dec. 1).

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