NBC’s ‘Home’ sweet

NBC’s web premiere of “Home Alone” brought the network even with CBS for the Nov. 22-28 primetime Nielsens week, giving NBC its first share of the Nielsens lead since the NBA Playoffs last June.

Still, CBS’ first-place tie keeps that web in control of the November sweeps — on the way to what would be its first November victory in nine years.

Through Monday of this week (leaving just two nights to count), the 26-night Nielsen sweeps averages are: CBS, a 13.0 rating, 21 share; ABC, 12.5/20; NBC, 12 .2/20; Fox Broadcasting Co., 7.5/12. Adults 18-49 ratings are: NBC, 7.5; ABC, 7. 3; CBS, 6.8; Fox, 5.2.

With one night to count in the last Arbitron sweeps, which begin a day earlier, it’s: CBS, 12.9/21; ABC, 12.5/20; NBC, 12.2/20; Fox, 7.6/12.

Despite its recent ratings success, CBS has not won a November sweep since 1984. NBC won seven in a row from ’85 through ’91 before ABC took the crown last November.

“Home Alone” conked last week’s competition, banging out the second-highest share for a network-televised theatrical film in seven seasons. Since “Raiders of the Lost Ark” unearthed a 37 share back on Sept. 28, 1986, only the 38 share of “Fried Green Tomatoes” last May 2 has topped the Thanksgiving-night 36 share scored by “Home Alone.”

NBC Research estimates 60.6 million viewers watched at least some of “Home Alone,” making it the “most watched” programof the season by that measure.

Also boosting NBC to its weeklong tie were Sunday night’s “Bonanza: The Return” vidpic and the “Back to Bonanza” special, which combined to ride off with that network’s highest non-sports Sunday rating since last May 23.

The Peacock web looked even stronger in the key adults 18-49 demo, winning the week with a 7.3/19, followed by ABC’s 7.0/18, CBS’ 6.3/16 and Fox’s 5.2/13.

ABC may have programmed itself out of a November sweeps win with “JFK: Reckless Youth,” which made history as the lowest-rated regular-season multiparter ever on television, excluding such limited series as “Secrets of Lake Success” (Daily Variety, Nov. 29).

And the finishing touch to ABC’s sweeps chances may have been administered on Monday of this week, when an uncharitable NFL scheduler pitted San Diego against Indianapolis on “Monday Night Football” (12.9/20).

The result was the worst “MNF” share in more than seven years, since Oct. 27, 1986, when a Redskins-Giants matchup was crushed by the seventh game of the blockbuster Mets-Red Sox World Series.

Despite its November problems, ABC still runs just 0.4 rating points behind CBS season-to-date. ABC says it’s the web’s strongest competitive position at this juncture of the year since 1981.


Raymond Burr’s final “Perry Mason” vidpic sustained NBC’s highest single-episode vidpic rating since “Daddy” (19.6/30, Oct. 23, 1991) and best “Perry Mason” rating since Feb. 12, 1989.

“Mason’s” appeal took the Peacock to its highest Monday rating since July 27, 1992, during that Summer’s Olympic Games. The last time a non-sports NBC lineup did better was April 29, 1991 (telepic “Switched at Birth”).

Aiding NBC’s big night was the highest-rated Monday “Blossom” ever (16.9/25). The only better-rated “Blossom” was the show’s debut in the post-“Cosby” slot back on Jan. 3, 1991.

With the big numbers, NBC padded its leads in the Monday season-to-date and sweeps-to-date categories.


CBS won Sunday, but unimpressively. Its “Indiana Jones” rerun finished third in the 9-11 p.m. filmstakes, behind ABC’s Oprah Winfrey starrer “There Are No Children Here” (the top-rated single-episode vidpic on that net since Jan. 10) and NBC’s “Bonanza — the Return” (top Sunday pic on that web since May 23).

CBS was third for the night among adults 18-49, behind winner NBC and runner-up ABC.

“Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” made it three out of four times it’s now finished ahead of “seaQuest DSV.” And “Lois” did it despite a solid “DSV” lead-in advantage from nostalgia spec “Back to Bonanza,” which galloped to NBC’s highest Sunday 7-8 p.m. non-sports rating since Dec. 29, 1991 (“Ghost Dad,” 14.4/24 that hour).

Fox’s “Beethoven” followed up its husky Monday numbers (the second-highest Fox film rating ever) with a powerful rerun that dug up the weblet’s best Sunday nightlong average since last Feb. 21. “Beethoven” won its slot among women 18-49 , adults 18-34, teens and kids.


An extra dose of “Dr. Quinn” meant another healthy Saturday sweep for CBS.

ABC got its best Saturday rating in seven weeks by yanking its 8-10 p.m. lineup and sending out a 20th-anniversary “American Music Awards” spec.


ABC won comfortably, but CBS’ “Circus of the Stars” special climbed to the Eye web’s highest Friday 8-10 p.m. non-sports rating since April 2 and helped knock ABC down to its lowest share for that block this season.

“Boy Meets World” plunged to its worst rating and first slot loss ever, while “Step by Step” and “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper” hit season-low ratings.

“Circus” did slip 6% below its year-ago rating.

NBC ran a close third with “This Is Your Life,” surprising the competition with the Peacock’s second-best Friday 8-9 p.m. rating since May 14.

Fox got its highest Friday kids numbers ever from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II” (10.3/27 in that demo, even beating ABC’s youth-oriented lineup).


“Home Alone” ambushed the night’s competition, knocking Fox to the weblet’s most painfulThursday rating since July 4, 1991. ABC’s “Missing Persons” and “Matlock” also tumbled to regular-slot season lows. Besides the night of the last “Cheers” episode, NBC hasn’t had a higher-rated Thursday since the Barcelona Olympics. And it was NBC’s top-rated Thanksgiving since 1987.


NBC was a solid second in households, as “The Comedy Hall of Fame” ran within a share of the net’s slot average in that slot. The special topped four of the five “Television Academy Hall of Fame” ratings to date.

ABC won the night despite lowest-yet ratings for “Thea,””Joe’s Life” and “Grace Under Fire.” A 10-11 p.m. “Gala at Ford’s Theatre” spec topped slot regular “Moon Over Miami’s” average by 4 shares.


ABC’s “JFK: Reckless Youth” did something CBS’ “Return to Lonesome Dove” (and all other competition this season) couldn’t accomplish — it knocked ABC out of first place for a Tuesday night.

“JFK” finished its two-night run with an average 8.7/14, the worst ever for a firstrun regular-season multiparter. Counting the summer rerun season, “JFK” is the lowest-rated firstrun multi since “To Be the Best” (8.5/14, Aug. 2-4, 1992). Fox’s “Bakersfield, P.D.” again hit its worst dropoff in the 8:30-9 p.m. slot with “Roseanne” pushed into that position, this time holding just 71% of its “Roc” lead-in rating.


CBS and NBC tied in households, with ABC just behind, but Fox stolethe show when “Beethoven” composed that weblet’s best kids 2-11 film numbers ever, a 13.8 /42 (Daily Variety, Nov. 24).

The nets finished in a virtual three-way tie in last week’s evening-news race. NBC Research says it was the closest finish since Jan. 23-27, 1989.

Each rating point represents an estimated 942,000 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 in which TV is being watched during the timeslot involved.

More TV

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content