CBS took a step toward sweeps contention over the weekend on the wings of its two-hour “60 Minutes” retrospective and the opening salvo of seven-hour miniseries “Return to Lonesome Dove,” according to Nielsen overnight markets.

The network said it’s anticipating about a 10% increase nationally for “Dove, ” which started late due to football overruns but averaged a 15.7 rating/24 share from 9:30-11 p.m., tying NBC’s “Backdraft” airing for that stretch in the 29 Nielsen metered markets.

Such a jump would put the opening ride for the seven-hour oater between a 17 and 18 rating nationally — about what network research guru David Poltrack said he’d projected for it, though well short of the blockbuster numbers roped by its 1989 predecessor or last February’s similarly scheduled three-parter, “Queen.”

The really big bat was swung by “60 Minutes,” which averaged a 25.4/37 (including a football overrun) from 7-9 p.m. Combined with the start of “Backdraft,” those results dumped ABC’s “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” to its worst overnight-market performance thus far.

CBS needs a strong performance from the miniseries Tuesday and Thursday to dig out of its current hole in the November sweeps, ranking third through Friday in the Nielsen survey.

In national results for Friday, ABC received a boost from “Family Matters” ( 15.3/28), which delivered its best share since moving to the 8 p.m. leadoff position in September 1991.

Meanwhile, CBS confirmed that the Paramount sitcom “Bob” would join “Family Album” on hiatus for the balance of the November sweeps and through December. The second-year Bob Newhart vehicle is expected to return in a different timeslot in 1994.

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