NEW YORK -- NBC held its lead in the 1988 ratings race, whipping network rivals for the 44th week of the 51-week television season, according to figures reported Wednesday.
The network scored the five highest-rated shows and seven of the top 10. Its blockbuster Thursday night lineup once again led the way, boasting the top four shows on the ratings list: 'A Different World,' 'Cheers,' 'The Cosby Show' and 'Night Court.'
NBC's other Thursday night prime-time show, 'L.A. Law,' jumped into the top 10 as well, finishing seventh.
NBC won the weekly battle, according to the A.C. Nielsen Co., with an 11.6 rating and 22 share. CBS was in second place with a 10.8 rating and 20 share, while ABC stayed in third with a 9.3 rating and 17 share.
NBC's commanding seasonal lead is certain to hold up as the television year nears its end. For the year to date, NBC holds a 14.5 rating and 25 share. CBS is hanging on tenaciously to its narrow lead over ABC for second place. CBS has a 12.3 rating and 21 share, while ABC has a 12.1 rating and also a 21 share.
NBC dominated the prime-time ratings on Wednesday and Saturday to back up its strong Thursday figures. CBS drew more viewers than the other networks on Monday and Sunday, the first and last days of the ratings week, while ABC won Tuesday and Friday.
CBS regained its lead from ABC in the news race after being knocked out of the top spot last week.
'CBS Evening News' with Dan Rather scored a 9.8 rating and 21 share, while ABC's 'World News Tonight' with Peter Jennings had a 9.4 rating and a 20 share. 'NBC Nightly News' with Tom Brokaw was third with an 8.8 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 prime-time shows for the week ending Sept. 4, according to the A.C. Nielsen Co., were:
1. A Different World (NBC)
2. Cheers (NBC)
3. The Cosby Show (NBC)
4. Night Court (NBC)
5. Golden Girls (NBC)
6. Full House (ABC)
7. L.A. Law (NBC)
8. Amen (NBC)
9. (tie) Who's the Boss?