ABC’s revised lineup thundered across the dial Wednesday, scoring the network’s highest rating with series programming that night in more than eight years.
Buoyed by a double dose of “Home Improvement,” ABC’s two new shows, “Thunder Alley” and “Turning Point,” dominated their time periods, the latter commanding the best results ever (18.1 rating/30 share) for the premiere of a regular newsmagazine.
The hour, dealing with Charles Manson, continued a big Nielsen week for convicted murderers, airing a day after NBC’s “Dateline” scored an all-time high by interviewing Jeffrey Dahmer.
“Alley,” meanwhile, capitalized on its “Home Improvement” sandwich to premiere with a 17.7/27, the highest rating for the network Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. since a “Head of the Class” episode back in October 1989. That helped drop the second week of CBS’ “Tom” (7.9/12) by 29% from its initial results.
With Fox Broadcasting Co. running repeats of its youth-oriented soaps, ABC’s regular 9 p.m. “Home Improvement” (25.9/38) equaled its highest share ever, and “Grace Under Fire” (21.8/32) hit best-yet levels in both rating and share.
ABC last topped the night’s 19.6 overall rating with the combination of “MacGyver,””Dynasty” and “Hotel” on Jan. 22, 1986. The web also averaged a 37 share of adults 18-49.
“Thunder Alley,” like “Improvement,” comes from Wind Dancer Production Group. The show will get four airings hammocked between the dual runs of the Tim Allen series, and ABC has yet to designate its lead-in beyond that point.