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‘Who Shot J.R.?’ Cliffhanger Pays Off for ‘Dallas’

“Dallas” and CB8 were bigger winners last week than Reagan- Bush. U.S. tv viewers voted overwhelmingly for the CBS series, which had four airings — two firstrun and two repeats. Both in original showing and repeat, “Dallas,” hyped by the new national pasttime of guessing who shot JR., attracted huge audiences.

The season’s premier of “Dallas” last Friday from 10-11 p.m. did a 38.2 rating, 61 share, topped by a follow-up show on Sunday (both part of a four-show package leading in to the answer to the question of who shot JR.) which scored a 40.0 rating, 89 share.

It’s estimated that both of these new episodes attracted more than 31,000,000 tv households and some 60,000,000 viewers on the average minute.

It appears that the Sunday episode of “Dallas” may have become the most watched show of a regularly scheduled series in tv history.

The final episode of ABC’s “The Fugitive” series, which aired on Aug. 9,1967, had a higher rating, doing a 45.9, but a national Nielsen rating point today reps far more households, currently translating into 778,000 households per point.

Even the repeat of Dallas on Friday , offered from 910 p.m. as the leadin to the season’s premier episode, probably broke a record. It did a 31.8 rating, 51 share, believed to be the highest numbers compiled by a series seg in repeat.

The rerun did almost as well as the original of the episode which aired on March 21 of this year and did a 32.7 rating, 52 share. The first repeat of “Dallas” last week, on Thursday, also Vnearly equalled its original. The comparative figures are a 24.7 rating, 42 share for the Thursday repeat and a 25.7 rating, 45 share for the firstrun of the same seg on March 14, 1980.

With four “Dallas” shows in the top 10 rated programs for the period ended Nov. 9 (“Dallas” firstrun Sunday and “Dallas” firstrun Friday were one, two) CBS romped to an easy second-week-of-the-season win. Averages for the period were CBS, 22.2; ABC, 17.9, NBC, 14.8.

For the season-to-date (beginning with the week of Oct. 27), CBS already has established a commanding lead of nearly three rating points over ABC, 21.0 to 18.1, and more than five points ahead of NBC’s 15.6 average.

Similarily, in the November sweeps, it’s no contest. With about one-third of the sweep period completed, CBS looks to be unbeatable.

In the Arbitron reading for the Oct. 29 through Nov. 9 sweeps, CBS is averaging a 21.4 to ABC’s 17.8 and NBC’s 15.1.

Nielsen, for the sweep period of Oct. 30 through Nov. 9, has CBS leading with a 21.5 average, ABC in second with a 17.6 and NBC third with a 15.1.

CBS swept 12 of the first 13 places in the pecking order of programs by ratings last week. Only “The Love Boat,” the 10th highest rated program with a 24.4 average and 42 share, broke the CBS rule. Highest rated NBC show was “Real People,” which did a 21.0 rating, 32 share.

Showcase night of the week for CBS was Sunday when the web scored an eyepopping 32.4 rating average, 47 share — more than 14 points better than ABC and 18 points greater than NBC’s average for the night.

CBS also took Friday (the other Dallas firstrun night) by a wide margin and added wins on Thursday, Wednesday and Tuesday.

And even though CBS was last on Monday (one of two nights won by ABC, with Saturday the other), “Ladies’ Man,” In its regular 8:309 time period, grabbed a 24.0 rating, 36 share.

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