NEW YORK -- A one-hour special version of 'The Cosby Show' scored the highest rating of the season last week as NBC continued to pull away from the competition in the crucial November sweeps, ratings showed Tuesday.
For the week ending Nov. 15 -- the eighth week of the new season - NBC won handily with a 17.1 rating and 28 share. CBS was second with a 13.5 rating and 22 share and ABC was third with a 13.4 rating and 22 share.
NBC also widened its lead in the sweeps, a crucial period when ratings help set future advertising rates. With 10 days to go in the sweeps, NBC has a 16.6 rating and 27 share, CBS has a 13.9 rating and 23 share and ABC has a 12.3 rating and 20 share.
NBC was helped greatly by Bill Cosby, whose hour-long show scored a 33.9 rating and 51 share, the best rating for any prime-time show so far this season. NBC also won the battle of the mega-movies. The second part of 'Billionaire Boys Club' finished at No. 8 while CBS's 'Mayflower Madam' ranked No. 9.
ABC's three-part, six-hour telecast of 'Napoleon and Josephine' slipped in the ratings with each showing -- finishing No. 15, No. 26 and No. 39 -- but ABC still estimates that more than 22 million people watched all or part of the program.
For the season to date, NBC is in first with a 16.6 rating and 27 share. ABC is second with a 14.1 rating and 23 share, while CBS is in last place with a 13.8 rating and a 23 share.
In news, 'CBS Evening News' with Dan Rather was first for the eighth straight week with a 12.6 rating and 22 share. 'NBC Nightly News' with Tom Brokaw moved up to second with an 11.3 rating and 20 share while ABC's 'World News Tonight' with Peter Jennings had an 11.1 rating and 19 share.
CBS's 'West 57th,' which broadcast one of its finest shows of the season on Saturday, finished in 69th place, one up on ABC's 'The Charmings,' the lowest rated show of the week.
Each ratings point represents about 887,000 households and a share is the percentage of operating sets tuned to a particular show.
Winner of the week: Bill Cosby.
Loser of the week: Pee-wee's Playhouse special. The CBS Saturday morning show gave prime-time a try and finished in a tie for 56th place.
The top prime time shows for the week ending Nov. 15, according to the A.C. Nielsen Co., were:
1. The Cosby Show (NBC)
2. Cheers (NBC)
3. Growing Pains (ABC)
4. Night Court (NBC)
5. 60 Minutes (CBS)
6. Who's the Boss? (ABC)
7. Golden Girls (NBC)
8. Billionaire Boys Club, Part II (NBC)
9. Mayflower Madam (CBS)