NEW YORK -- A repeat of a 'Night Court' episode returned to its old slot on Thursday night to edge out an original 'The Cosby Show' chapter as last week's most watched TV show, it was reported Tuesday.
That was no ordinary 'Night Court,' however -- it was 'Russkie Business,' featuring Russian comic Yakov Smirnoff as guest star and Johnny Carson in a cameo role.
When it aired originally last March it earned a 12.5 rating and a 22 share. This time around it got a 23.9 rating and a 39 share.
Two new shows made the top 10 -- ABC's 'Roseanne' in sixth place and 'Empty Nest' in 10th. 'Dear John,' the season's third big hit, was pre-empted for the 'Night Court' repeat.
'Moonlight,' one of the season's question marks, made its premiere last week and wound up in 13th place, but its 27 share was way down from last season's premiere, which had a 40 share.
Also making its premiere for ABC was 'thirtysomething,' which ranked 29th.
The week was a disaster for CBS, for whom the top-rated entertainment program was 'Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, tied for 17th ('60 Minutes,' the network's top-rated show in seventh place, is a product of CBS News).
For what it's worth, 'Rudolph' beat 'Alf' in its time period.
Part of the CBS problem was Billy Graham -- CBS affiliates representing anywhere from 13 to 21 percent of TV homes pre-empted regular programming during the week to broadcast the Billy Graham Crusade.
Among the new series this season, aside from the two in the top 10, a scattering of others made the middle range of ratings but most of them were clustered at the bottom of the list.
In the middle were a special Sunday airing of 'Murphy Brown' (CBS) tied for 32nd place, 'Midnight Caller' (NBC) tied for 34th, the regular 'Murphy Brown' in 37th, 'Mission Impossible' (ABC) tied for 41st.
Moving on down, 'Magicial World of Disney' (NBC) was in 53rd; 'Incredible Sunday' (ABC), 54th; 'Almost Grown' (CBS), 56th; 'Paradise' (CBS), tied for 57th.
Worse, 'Something Is Out There' (NBC), 61st; 'Tattinger's' (NBC), 63rd; 'Murphy's Law' (ABC), tied for 65th.
The final six shows on the list of 73 programs are all new shows. Five of them are going off the air and the sixth, 'TV101' (CBS), is getting a new time slot.
The shows going off the air are 'Dirty Dancing' (CBS), 'Knightwatch' (ABC), and 'Raising Miranda,' 'The Van Dyke Show' and 'Annie McGuire,' all CBS.
On Sunday night, NBC won with a theatrical movie, 'Spies Like Us,' which tied for 17th place. ABC was second with 'Roots: The Gift,' tied for 25th, and CBS was down in 51st place with 'Glory Days.'
NBC won the week with a 15.1 rating and a 24 share. ABC was second with a 13.2 rating and a 21 share, and CBS had a 10.7 rating and a 17 share.
As for the television season to date, NBC claims it is 12 weeks old and ABC and CBS say it began on Oct. 24.
In the NBC version, NBC leads with a 16.2 rating and a 26 share. ABC is second with a 13.3 rating and a 22 share and CBS comes in last with an 11.9 rating and a 19 share.
In the alternative count, NBC has a 15.5 rating and a 25 share, ABC has a 13.6 rating and a 22 share and CBS a 12.1 rating and a 19 share.
No matter how you score it, it's NBC all the way.
CBS came in first in the tight evening news race, with ABC nosing out NBC for second place.
'CBS Evening News' with Dan Rather earned an 11.2 rating and 20 share. ABC's 'World News Tonight' with Peter Jennings had a 10.9 rating and a 20 share, with 'NBC Nightly News' with Tom Brokaw only a tenth of a rating point behind with a 10.8 rating and a 20 share.
Each ratings point represents about 904,000 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 Dec. 11, according to the A.C. Nielsen Co., were:
1. Night Court (NBC)
2. The Cosby Show (NBC)
3. Cheers (NBC)
4. A Different World (NBC)
5. Golden Girls (NBC)
6. Roseanne (ABC)
7. 60 Minutes (CBS)
8. Who's The Boss? (ABC)
9. L.A. Law (NBC)