NEW YORK -- NBC rolled out the finest documentary of the year last week, but quality couldn't save it. Live coverage of the end of the world wouldn't score with the Nielsens if it ran opposite '60 Minutes.'
'Bataan: The Forgotten Hell' -- a graphic retrospective of the infamous Bataan death march in World War II -- was a powerhouse, but the CBS ratings king buried it in a tie for 61st place on a list of 68 with 'Joannie Loves Chachi.'
CBS continued to reign undisputed in prime time ratings last week, with an overall score of 20.2 and an audience share of 31 -- far ahead of ABC, which pulled a rating of 16.7 and 26, and a light year -- by television standards -- ahead of third place NBC which came in with 14.8 and 23.
News ratings were equally lopsided, with the CBS 'Evening News' scoring 14.7 and 25. ABC's 'World News Tonight' was second, at 12.1 and21, and the NBC 'Nightly News' was a close third at 12.0 and 20.
CBS claimed eight of the Top 10 programs for the week. NBC made the Top 10 only with the second half of 'The Executioner's Song.'
The top 10 programs for the week ending Dec. 5, according to the A.C. Nielsen Co., were:
1. Dallas (CBS).
2. All-Star Party for Carol Burnett (CBS).
3. Three's Company (ABC).
4. 60 Minutes (CBS).
5. Circus of the Stars (CBS).
6. NBC Monday Night Movie -- The Executioner's Song (NBC).
7. M-A-S-H (CBS).
8. Falcon Crest (CBS)
9. G.E. Theater: Something So Right (CBS).
10. Simon and Simon (CBS).