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ABC tops Nielsen week as the doldrums begin

With the Memorial Day weekend officially ushering in the summer ratings doldrums, ABC and its “Daytime Emmy Awards” were more than strong enough to walk off with May 24-30 prime time Nielsen honors.

The Daytime Emmys flattened last Wednesday’s competition, winning a 16.4 rating, 27 share — a 7% ratings increase over the ceremony’s ’92 figures (a June telecast on NBC) for the best Daytime Emmys rating ever (Daily Variety, May 28). The broadcast also achieved ABC’s best Wednesday 9-11 p.m. share in 15 weeks.

The only major awards shows of the past year that have earned higher ratings are the Academy Awards (which scored a 31.2 rating, 51 share), the American Music Awards (21.6/33), the Country Music Assn. Awards (20.3/32) and the Grammy Awards (20.0/31).

Among the kudocasts the Daytime Emmys topped are the regular Primetime Emmys (13.9/24) and the Soap Opera Awards (12.9/22).

ABC was also bolstered last week by its first Saturday win in 11 weeks, its first sweep of the Friday half-hours in seven weeks, and a Tuesday “20/20” spec that delivered ABC’s best share in that slot in six months.

ABC’s strength was even greater in the adults 18-49 demographic, where weeklong averages were: ABC, 5.8/18; NBC, 5.0/16; CBS, 4.6/15; Fox Broadcasting Co., 4.4/15. Counting just the 14 hours programmed by Fox, the weblet tied for second among adults 18-49.

Monday

NBC swept the half-hours on Monday of the current week with “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” (11.8/21), “Blossom” (11.7/20) and the rerun vidpic “Don’t Touch My Daughter” (13.6/23). CBS’ lineup faded to its worst share, a 17, since Academy Awards night.

Sunday

CBS won a listless holiday-weekend Sunday as “60 Minutes” beat the combined 7 -8 p.m. competition by 6 shares. Each of the four shows that went up against “60 Minutes” finished among the week’s five lowest-rated programs.

Ross Perot’s latest half-hour presentation doomed NBC to its worst Sunday 8-8 :30 share in more than 10 months, since last July 5.

CBS’ “Fire in the Dark” vidpic won the 9-11 p.m. race in households but lost among adults 18-49 by a big 9 shares to “A Fish Called Wanda.”

Saturday

ABC’s theatrical pic “The Bear” teamed with “The Commish” to capture that net’s first Saturday triumph since March 13. Usual Saturday leader CBS fell to fourth place with “The Essence Awards,” which settled for CBS’ weakest Saturday 9-11 p.m. share in six months. The “Essence” rating was down 22% from last year, when it ran on the Friday after Memorial Day.

NBC’s Jay Tarses series “Black Tie Affair” premiered with undignified numbers , slouching to the Peacock’s scruffiest 10-11 p.m. Saturday share in six weeks.

Fox’s “Cops” and “Code 3” pummeled the nets in the vital adults 18-49 demographic, winning the night by a dominating 6 shares (8 shares counting just head-to-head 8-10 p.m. programming).

Friday

ABC breezed, sweeping the night’s half-hours for the first time since April 9 . NBC bowed out of the race with a two-hour docu on Robert Kennedy that fell to NBC’s lowest share in the Friday 9-11 p.m. slot since Jan. 1.

Thursday

A week after making TV history, NBC’s “Cheer” quietly won its slot with a rerun episode that mustered just 28% of the previous week’s record “Cheers” rating. The night’s star was “Seinfeld,” which skyrocketed 21% above its “Cheers” lead-in.

Wednesday

The Daytime Emmys presented ABC with its easiest Wednesday win since Oprah Winfrey interviewed Michael Jackson last Feb. 10. On Fox, meanwhile, a 90-minute “Melrose Place” season finale motored off to that series’ best share since last July 22.

Tuesday

CBS snuck back ahead after having been shut out of the Tuesday lead for seven weeks in a row.

The Eye bounced back thanks to a solid timeslot win for “Rescue 911” and the powerful night-two rally of the “Love, Honor and Obey” two-parter, which shot 14 % ahead of its Sunday part-one rating to average a 13.5/22. That puts “Obey” third out of the six multiparters aired during the May sweeps.

ABC still led Tuesday comfortably among adults 18-49, boosted by the “20/20” 15th anniversary special.

Fox got encouraging signs for its planned fall switch of “America’s Most Wanted” to Tuesdays. The show’s first try there last week captured Fox’s best series numbers in that slot in nine weeks.

Monday

“The Legend of the Beverly Hillbillies” won Monday for CBS, rustling up the net’s best Monday 8-9 p.m. share since last Oct. 5 (Daily Variety, May 26).

Each rating point represents an estimated 931,000 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 watching TV during the timeslot involved.