NEW YORK -- NBC said it was the A.C. Nielsen Co.'s decision to regard two rain delays on Game 6 of the World Series as individual prime time programs, but whatever the rationale, it proved once and for all America's passion for baseball.
Even the rain delays on a game that didn't end until 1:30 a.m., EDT, pulled more of an audience than the regular season menu of sitcoms, and for the Peacock Network, that was good news and bad news.
The good news was that NBC once again was No. 1 in the ratings race. The bad news was that the maneuver knocked NBC's 'Hill Street Blues' out of the Top 20.
The World Series -- rainouts and all -- accounted for five positions in the Top 10, giving the week to NBC with an overall rating of 19.5 and an audience share of 31. The final game pulled a whopping share of 56.
CBS was nudged into second place at 18.1 and 29, and ABC took up lodgings in what usually is the NBC cellar with 14.3 and 23.
Thanks to baseball, NBC has shown an 18 per cent gain over last year in the first four weeks of the new season. CBS viewership is down 9 per cent and ABC, which has dropped into third place for the season to date, is down 16 per cent.
On the news front, CBS remained No. 1 last week with a rating of 12.5 and a share of 23 for the 'Evening News.' ABC's 'World News Tonight' was in second place at 11.8 and 22, and NBC's 'Nightly News' brought up the rear at 10.2 and 20.
The top 10 programs for the week ending Oct. 24, according to the A. C. Nielsen Co., were:
1. World Series Game No. 7 (NBC).
2. World Series Game No. 6 -- rain delay (NBC).
3. Dallas (CBS).
4. 60 Minutes (CBS).
5. World Series Game No. 6 (NBC).
6. Magnum P.I. (CBS).
7. World Series Game No. 7 -- pregame show (NBC)
8. CBS Movie -- 'Forbidden Love' (CBS)
9. World Series Game No. 6 -- rain delay (NBC)
10. One Day at a Time (CBS).