NEW YORK -- CBS used 'Magnum' force to win the ratings race last week, as the final, two-hour chapter of 'Magnum, P.I.' was the most watched show by a wide margin, it was reported Tuesday.
CBS estimates that 51 million people viewed an average minute of Magnum's last stand, which gave CBS the week, the Sunday movie competition and an early lead in the May sweeps.
The big audience was a personal triumph for Tom Selleck as well. 'The Cosby Show,' whose introduction opposite 'Magnum' led to 'Magnum's' ratings decline, finished third for the week.
As for the Sunday movie competition -- no contest. 'Magnum' came in with a 32 rating and a 48 share. The first of ABC's two-parter, 'Onassis: The Richest Man in the World,' came in a poor 37th in the ratings, with a 12.1 rating and an 18 share. NBC ran a theatrical movie, 'Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome,' which was 57th with a 9.2 rating and a 14 share.
For the week ending May 1, CBS won with a 13.9 rating and a 24 share. NBC was second with a 13.4 rating and a 23 share, while ABC was third with a 12.1 rating and a 20 share.
CBS also leads in the May sweeps, but it is too early for the numbers to be significant. You can tell it's sweeps time -- the week before last the top five shows were reruns. Last week there were none in the top 10. The week ending April 24, there were 42 reruns on a list of 74 shows. The week ending May 1 there were 17 reruns on a list of 72 shows.
The good news for ABC was the reception of its two premiering series. 'Just The Ten Of Us' was in seventh place. The two-hour 'China Beach' premiere ranked 12th, while the series in its regular time slot came in 21st.
Among news magazines and specials, '60 Minutes,' in eighth place, as usual was by far the winner. The CBS '48 Hours' dealing with drugs came next, in 47th place, with ABC's '20-20' right behind in 48th. Connie Chung's NBC special, 'Stressed to Kill,' was 52nd, while 'West 57th' on CBS was 61st.
While CBS won the week in entertainment, ABC took top honors in news. ABC's 'World News Tonight' with Peter Jennings had a 10.4 rating and a 21 share, while the 'CBS Evening News' with Dan Rather came in second with a 9.6 rating and a 20 share. 'NBC Nightly News' with Tom Brokaw was third with an 8.6 rating and an 18 share.
Each ratings point represents about 887,000 households and a share is the percentage of TV sets tuned to a particular show.
The top 10 prime time shows for the week ending May 1, according to the A.C. Nielsen Co., were:
1. Magnum finale, CBS Sunday movie
2. Cheers (NBC)
3. The Cosby Show (NBC)
4. A Different World (NBC)
5. Murder, She Wrote (CBS)
6. Golden Girls (NBC)
7. Just The Ten Of Us (ABC)
8. 60 Minutes (CBS)
9. Little Girl Lost (ABC)