NEW YORK -- NBC won the prime time ratings race last week with an assist from an old CBS standby, while ABC took charge of the news for the third straight week, it was reported Tuesday.
The top show of the week, according to the A.C. Nielsen Co., was 'Perry Mason: The Case of The Lady In The Lake.' NBC's successful reincarnation of Raymond Burr-Perry Mason must be particularly bitter to CBS, where the series ran from 1957 to 1966 and again briefly in 1973-74.
'Something Is Out There,' part 2, also was in the top 10 for NBC, which is why Brandon Tartikoff, president of NBC Entertainment, is taking a chance and converting it into a series for next season. It will run opposite CBS's 'Dallas,' and test whether there is any reality to rumors the 10-year-old show is getting creaky. It tied for 12th last week.
The second half of Robert Ludlum's 'The Bourne Identity' (ABC), starring Richard Chamberlain, also made it in the top 10.
The big disappointment was the opening episode of the CBS two-parter, 'Beryl Markham: Shadow On The Sun,' which wound up in a four-way tie for 43rd place.
It had been up against Mason and, on ABC, the theatrical movie 'Beverly Hills Cop,' which tied for third with 'Cheers.' That came as a happy surprise for ABC because theatrical films have been faring poorly on television lately.
For the week ending May 15, NBC won with a 14.7 rating and a 26 share. ABC was second with a 12.8 rating and a 22 share, while CBS fell to third with an 11.4 rating and a 20 share.
NBC continued in the lead for the May sweeps with a 14.8 rating and a 26 share. CBS held onto second with a 12.5 rating and a 22 share and ABC brought up the rear with an 11.4 rating and 20 share.
Among the evening news shows, ABC's 'World News Tonight' with Peter Jennings won for the third straight week and the seventh time this season with a 9.4 rating and a 20 share. The 'CBS Evening News' with Dan Rather came in second with a 9.1 rating and a 20 share. 'NBC Nightly News' with Tom Brokaw was third with an 8.0 rating and a 17 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 15, according to the A.C. Nielsen Co., were:
1. Perry Mason, The Case of The Lady In The Lake (NBC)
2. The Cosby Show (NBC)
3. (tie) Cheers (NBC)
Beverly Hills Cop (ABC)
5. Barbara Walters (ABC)
6. Night Court (NBC)
7. Golden Girls (NBC)
8. Something Is Out There (NBC)
9. The Bourne Identity (ABC)
10. Who's the Boss?