NEW YORK -- ABC and NBC have become bitterly accustomed to seeing Dan Rather win the weekly Nielsen news sweepstakes, but now he's picking on the prime time schedule as well.
For the first time in recent memory, an evening news show last week outpointed an entire network entertainment schedule. The CBS 'Evening News' scored a rating of 14.7 and an audience share of 25. NBC's weekly prime time score was only 13.8 and 22.
The loss buried the hapless Peacock network deeper in the Nielsen cellar than ever. On the prime time front, CBS took six of the week's seven nights with a score of 20.5 and 32. ABC was a distant second at 17.0 and 27.
The CBS news programming lead was almost as great. The 'Evening News' scored a rating of 14.7 and a share of 25 -- well ahead of the 12.3 and 21 scored by ABC's 'World News Tonight,' and far ahead of NBC's 'Nightly News' which picked up a rating of 11.5 and a share of 19.
Spurred by the epic miniseries 'The Blue and the Gray,' CBS claimed nine of the Top 10 shows, relinquishing only the fourth-place 'Love Boat' to ABC. Once again, NBC's sparkling and critically acclaimed Thursday night line-up of 'Taxi,' 'Cheers,' 'St. Elsewhere' and 'Fame' were buried.
ABC did manage to prove this week that football fans remain football fans even when annoyed by the NFL strike.
Overnight ratings on the game played Monday night by the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders netted 14.2 and 24 in New York, 20.1 and 30 in Chicago and 29.2 and 43 in Los Angeles.
By way of contrast, the last game played, on Nov. 11, before the strike paralyzed the NFL season, pulled 21.3 and 35, 20.6 and 30 and 20.3 and 32, respectively, in the three test cities.
The top 10 programs for the week ending Nov. 21, according to the A.C. Nielsen Co., were:
1. 60 Minutes (CBS).
2. M-A-S-H (CBS).
3. The Blue and the Gray -- Part 2 (CBS.
4. Love Boat (ABC).
5. Dallas (CBS).
6. The Blue and the Gray -- Part 3 (CBS).
7. Newhart (CBS).
8. Magnum P.I. (CBS)
9. Gloria (CBS).
10. The Jeffersons (CBS).