CBS has grabbed the Aug. 2-8 primetime Nielsens week in household numbers, breaking ABC’s two-week hold on the top spot, though ABC remained far ahead among young-adult audiences.

The Alphabet net fell short of a third straight households victory when NBC’s “Problem Child 2” and a Clinton-speech disruption pounced on ABC’s Tuesday lineup and sent it tumbling to its worst share in more than two years.

But ABC still had no problem prevailing for the week in the key adults 18-49 demographic, a relatively accurate measure of how well a web is attracting the audiences advertisers pay the most to reach.

For the week, those averages were ABC, a 5.4 rating, 17 share; NBC, 4.6/15; CBS, 4.2/14; Fox Broadcasting Co., 3.2/10. CBS has run third or worse by this measure for 14 of the last 17 weeks.

CBS started the current week with a narrow households win on Aug. 9. Among adults 18-49, the three nets and Fox finished in a virtual tie for the night, with just 0.4 rating separating them all.

Boosting CBS was the premiere of “Big Wave Dave’s” (11.0/19), which held onto 97% of its “Murphy Brown” lead-in (11.3/20). That’s the best perf in that slot since a second “Murphy” aired there last Sept. 14.

NBC ran a close second for the night as “Cruel Doubt” finished its run with a 9.9/17 and a two-night average 8.7/15. That ties it for third among the six rerun multi-parters this summer.

ABC’s Washington-Cleveland preseason football game (9.0/17) equaled the rating of last year’s comparable telecast and was third in nightlong results.

Fox was fourth with its rerun of “Working Girl” (8.4/15).


ABC took the night among adults 18-49 thanks to “Mississippi Burning” and its 23 share in that demo. It’s the latest pic to contribute to ABC’s best summer film performance in five years.

CBS easily led for the night in households, as “60 Minutes” topped by more than 4 points the combined ratings of all three of its hapless slot competitors.


Fox owns the night among adults 18-49, a measure by which households leader CBS finished fourth last Saturday, due in large part to a weak 85% clearance among affils.

“Cops” is the big Fox gun for the night, last week equaling its best household share in the 8-9 p.m. hour since June 5. CBS’ low-clearance-plagued “Dr. Quinn” lost its slot for the second straight week, a first for the series.


ABC continues to embarrass the Friday competition, last week winning the night by 13 shares among adults 18-49. The charge was led by “20/20,” which scored its highest share since April 9, and a pair of “Perfect Strangers” episodes, which delivered ABC’s best Friday 9-10 p.m. shares since Jan. 1.

Fox improved in rating by 10% with its second Friday-film try, this time posting its second-lowest Friday rating since Aug. 7, 1992. That was an improvement over the week before, when Fox hit its worst Friday numbers since July 19, 1991.


Life beyond “Cheers” is looking a bit less ominous for NBC now that “Mad About You” is showing some promise in the Thursday leadoff slot. Last week “Mad” got NBC’s best share in that half-hour in 11 weeks and was an encouraging second among adults 18-49.

CBS remains solid in the 9-10 p.m. hour, with Connie Chung’s “Eye to Eye” having beaten or tied “Cheers” in households five times in eight tries.


ABC won the night by a comfortable 3 shares in adults 18-49, but in households CBS got enough of a boost from the return of “How’d They Do That?” to win Wednesday for the first time in 15 weeks.

At 8:30, “Street Match” improved dramatically in its second try for ABC, topping its “Wonder Years” lead-in rating by 3% after losing 14% of it the previous week.


“Problem Child” tormented the Tuesday competition, grabbing NBC’s first victory on that night in the 12 weeks since “The Academy of Country Music Awards ,” and NBC’s biggest Tuesday margin of victory without Olympics since Dec. 25, 1990.

“Dateline NBC” also scored the biggest timeslot margin of victory in its history, equaled its best share ever and climbed to its second-best rating ever.

“Problem Child” was nastiest to ABC, which got shoved to its worst Tuesday share since July 2, 1991.

Had ABC’s numbers come in regular time periods nationally, “Full House” would have sustained its worst regular-slot share since Christmas night 1987, and “Roseanne” would have hit its worst regular-slot share in nearly five years on the air.

In its second week as the 9-10 p.m. regular, Fox’s “America’s Most Wanted” let 19% of its rating escape but still tops all shares Fox has earned in that slot with regular programming since “Tribeca” premiered March 23.


ABC enjoyed a rare sweep of Monday’s half-hours from “Day One” and the rerun vidpic “Rich Men, Single Women” (Daily Variety, Aug. 4).

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