Football barely buoys ABC

A four-pack of family pics has brought NBC home first in the Thanksgiving-week primetime Nielsens, with the best weeklong kid and teen ratings of any net this season.

Though generally down somewhat from year-ago levels, NBC’s “Fam Four” films — “Jurassic Park,” “Home Alone,” “Beethoven’s 2nd” and “D2: The Mighty Ducks” — allowed the Peacock to win the week routinely despite giving its Thursday sitcom juggernaut the holiday off. In fact, NBC matched its previous-week 18 share in the key adults 18-49 demo.

ABC got an encouraging rebound from its besieged Tuesday schedule, solidifying ABC’s second-place standing in the key 18-49 and 25-54 demos, but CBS still took second in homes for the third time in four weeks. It now appears probable that CBS will lock up that runner-up position for the 1996-97 term once ABC’s “Monday Night Football” season ends later this month.

ABC may in fact find itself looking over its shoulder at Fox in the adults 18-49 race for second once football ends. Fox only narrowly missed taking second in that demo during the recently completed November sweeps (Daily Variety, Dec. 3).

NBC now has won the 18-49 competition 10 of the season’s first 11 weeks (losing only World Series week to Fox), a feat not previously accomplished since NBC did it in the fall of ’88. Last week’s averages in that demo were NBC, a 6.6 rating, 18 share (down in rating by 4% compared with results for the same week last year); ABC, 5.6/15 (down 5%); Fox, 5.1/14 (down 6%); CBS, 4.7/13 (down 4%); UPN, 2.0/5 (down 20%); WB, 1.3/3 (up 18%).

Last week also saw WB gain ground on rival weblet UPN, winning half of their eight head-to-head half-hours in households after being shut out two weeks earlier.


ABC won Monday of this week despite another low “Monday Night Football” score (13.6/23, San Francisco vs. Atlanta, and blacked out in Atlanta). ABC has now sustained three Monday gridcast ratings this fall lower than any “MNF” telecast in the entire ’94 and ’95 seasons.

Fox won its 8-10 p.m. block among adults 18-49 with “Melrose Place” (8.6/13 in homes) and the “Oops” outtakes show (7.8/12).

CBS (9.8/15) and NBC (8.9/14) faded to their lowest Monday ratings of the season. A firstrun “Cosby” (11.4/18) couldn’t match a rerun “Jeff Foxworthy” (7.1/11) in adults 18-49.


NBC’s “Jurassic Park” trampled the competition, shrinking by a minor 3% compared with its year-ago 18-49 rating.

With a strong football lead-in, “Dateline NBC” virtually matched “60 Minutes” in key demos, though “Minutes” stayed 8 shares ahead in households.


NBC buried the competition with pic “Beethoven’s 2nd” and “Bloopers,” which teamed for the second-highest adults 18-49 Saturday share any net has earned this season (behind only a World Series night). It was NBC’s easiest non-sports Saturday win in the 18-49 demo since December 1994.

In the 8-9 p.m. hour, CBS sacrificed 2 shares among adults 25-54 by resting “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” for a Dolly Parton spec.

Notre Dame-USC football improved by 7% over the comparable ’94 rating.

Fox’s “America’s Most Wanted” is on the prowl, last week capturing its best adults 18-49 rating since April 13, and beating a rerun “Early Edition” in adults 25-54.


“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” guided CBS to victory in adults 25-54 (tied with Fox) and 18-49, as well as households, the Eye’s second Friday triumph in three weeks. Over the years though, “Rudolph” may be losing its way a bit. This was the lowest-rated of “Rudolph’s” 33 net airings, crashing 19% below 1991’s previous low-water mark.

At 9 p.m., CBS’ “Ice Wars” improved on its year-ago marks by 6%, to earn the highest score of any skatecast this season.

NBC’s “D2” slid 19% below last year’s comparable airing of “The Mighty Ducks.”

Specs and holiday distractions dropped each regular Friday series to a season-low rating.


A special “Home Improvement” blunted the impact of NBC’s fourth “Home Alone” run, which slipped 18% below its year-ago 18-49 rating, but the Macaulay Culkin starrer still conked the competition.


ABC swept the night’s half-hours in adults 18-49, but CBS moved into a solid second in homes and key demos with its second-best Wednesday numbers of the season, courtesy of “The Pelican Brief.”

NBC’s specs sputtered. First it was the lowest-rated firstrun “National Geographic” since September ’95, then a 22% drop from last year for “World’s Greatest Magic.”

Holiday distractions helped send “Beverly Hills, 90210” to its lowest firstrun rating since Jan. 10, 1991, during the Spelling soap’s maiden season. “Party of Five” fell into a fourth-place tie among adults 18-49 with UPN’s “Star Trek: Voyager.”


ABC’s Tuesday lineup pulled out of a two-week slump, with “Roseanne” and “Spin City” moving back ahead of their respective NBC slot competitors, “Mad About You” and “Caroline in the City,” among adults 18-49. At 8:30 p.m., “Life’s Work” made additional progress, winning its slot in most key demos by holding or building on its “Roseanne” lead-in.

CBS’ “Promised Land,” concluding a story started Sunday on “Touched by an Angel,” won its first half-hour ever in households and scored the Eye web’s best rating in that slot since Feb. 28, 1995. “Land” was still last in the slot among adults 25-54, though with solid gains over year-ago results from “The Client.”

At 9 p.m., CBS’ “In Cold Blood” faded to a two-night 11.8/18 average, putting it behind 11 of 15 firstrun multiple-parters aired on the Big Three last season.


Pittsburgh-Miami football took the night, followed in most key demos by Fox’s “Melrose Place” and “Close Call” (Daily Variety, Nov. 27). It was Fox’s best non-sports Monday rating in adults 18-49 since Feb. 5.

Each rating point represents an estimated 970,000 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 television is being watched during the timeslot involved.

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