NEW YORK -- ABC's Summer Olympics coverage was the most watched event ever presented by a single TV network and for the second consecutive week last week, its presentations of the Games were the seven top prime time shows.
The A.C. Nielsen prime time ratings for the week ending Aug. 12 gave ABC a 24.9 rating with a 45 percent share of the viewing audience, NBC a 9.6 rating with a 17 share and CBS an 8.9 rating with a 16 share.
For the third consecutive week, ABC's Sunday night Olympic coverage was the No. 1 program, last week earning a 28.9 rating with a 53 percent share -- the highest rating for any single broadcast of the XXIII Olympiad.
ABC Research estimated Sunday night's closing ceremonies had an audience of 97 million American TV viewers between the hours of 7 p.m. and 1:40 a.m. EDT.
The average rating for the 16 nights of coverage of the Los Angeles Games was 23.5 with a 45 percent share.
ABC's 'World News Tonight' also grabbed the biggest audience share last week for the second consecutive week.
Airing at odd hours, 'World News Tonight' was never in direct competition with the other two networks' newscasts, but that still meant anchorman Peter Jennings and the program were getting a lot of exposure to viewers who ordinarily would be watching the competition.
'World News Tonight' had a 10.4 rating with a 24 percent share of the viewing audience, while 'CBS Evening News with Dan Rather,' had a 9.5 rating with a 20 share and 'NBC Nightly News' had a 7.6 rating with a 16 share.
Because 'World News Tonight' was classified as a special, rather than an early evening news program for the duration of the Olympics, CBS can say its newscast has won in the early evening catergory for 120 consecutive weeks.
The Top 10 prime time shows for the week ending Aug. 12, according to the A.C. Nielsen Co., were:
1. Olympics (Sunday) (ABC)
2. Olympics (Monday) (ABC)
3. Olympics (Wednesday) (ABC)
4. Olympics (Thursday) (ABC)
5. Olympics (Tuesday) (ABC)
6. Olympics (Saturday) (ABC)
7. Olympics (Friday) (ABC)
8. The A-Team (NBC)
9. Cagney and Lacey (CBS)