NEW YORK -- CBS's '60 Minutes' was the top-rated prime time network show last week, but NBC was the top network for the 40th week in the 46-week season and also was the winner in the July sweeps, it was reported Tuesday.
The July sweeps are the orphans of the ratings game. The networks don't stunt for them with special programming or miniseries -- it's just rerun business-as-usual while viewing habits are documented in some 200 local markets.
NBC won for the second consecutive year, well ahead with an 11.2 rating and a 22 share. CBS was second with a 9.1 rating and an 18 share, just beating out ABC, which registered a 9.0 rating and an 18 share, according to the A.C. Nielsen Co.
NBC had nine of the top 10 series, the top-rated miniseries with Mark Harmon in 'The Deliberate Stranger,' and the three top-rated TV movies, 'His Mistress,' 'The Abduction of Kari Swenson' and 'Out of Time.'
The three top series for July were 'A Different World,' 'Night Court' and 'Cheers.' Where was Cosby? Right behind the top three, with 'The Cosby Show' and 'Golden Girls' tied for fourth. All are NBC.
'People Magazine On TV' had a promising premiere on CBS, coming in 19th on the Nielsen list, which probably means new editions -- perhaps on a quarterly basis.
'Funny People,' which tied for 25th the previous week in its debut on NBC, dropped to a tie for 43rd place last week.
NBC had the week's most popular movie, 'His Mistress,' on Monday night, which landed in a tie for fourth place. In the three-way Sunday movie competition, CBS won with 'A Case of Deadly Force' in sixth place. NBC's 'Desert Rats' was in a three-way tie at 22nd and ABC's 'Hollywood Wives,' part 1, was in 31st.
Audiences aren't ready to play couch potato for spectator sports - ABC's Monday night baseball was in 46th place and CBS's preseason NFL football, the Los Angeles Raiders vs. the San Francisco 49ers, tied for 54th.
In the prime time ratings race, according to Nielsen, NBC had a 10.7 rating and a 21 share. CBS was second with a 10.2 rating and a 20 share, while ABC was third with an 8.6 rating and a 17 share.
The news ratings race remains a close finish, with the 'CBS Evening News' with Dan Rather holding onto first place with an 9.0 rating and 20 share, while ABC's 'World News Tonight' with Peter Jennings and 'NBC Nightly News' with Tom Brokaw tied for second for the second week in a row, each with an 8.6 rating and a 19 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 Aug. 7, according to the A.C. Nielsen Co., were:
1. 60 Minutes (CBS)
2. Golden Girls (NBC)
3. Cheers (NBC)
4. (tie) A Different World (NBC)
His Mistress, NBC Monday movie
6. A Case of Deadly Force, CBS Sunday movie
7. (tie) The Cosby Show (NBC)
Murder, She Wrote (CBS)
Night Court special (NBC)