NEW YORK -- NBC won the weekly Nielsen ratings race for the 53nd consecutive week because its had the shows more people wanted to watch again than did its rivals, it was reported Tuesday.
The winning network won eight of the top 10 -- something it has done 11 times during its record-breaking winning streak.
That's good for prestige, but in more practical matters its Sunday movie, a pilot titled 'The Gifted One' -- formerly 'The Blessed' - came in seventh in the Nielsen ratings. That puts it high on the list of possible midseason replacements.
'The Gifted One' had the distinction of being one of only 11 original programs on network television all week on a list of 70 programs.
In the top 50 there were three other originals -- '20/20' on ABC (tied for 34th),and 'Doctor, Doctor' (tied for 38th) and 'Songwriters Hall of Fame' (tied for 48th), both on CBS.
The rest of the original material included leftover episodes of canceled series, a failed pilot, and in last place the ABC Saturday movie, 'Right of the People.'
The fate of that movie underscores the fact that Saturday - traditionally the night with the smallest audience -- is generating dangerously low viewership to sustain the big three networks plus Fox.
Only NBC came up with double-digit ratings numbers, and from 9-11 p.m. Eastern time, NBC ratings for each half hour were more than double the combined ratings of the competition.
For the week ending June 25, NBC won with a 12.3 rating and a 24 share, while CBS had a 9.3 rating and an 18 share. ABC was third with a 9.0 rating and an 18 share.
In the tight evening news race, 'CBS Evening News' with Dan Rather took the lead with a 9.2 rating and a 20 share. ABC's 'World News Tonight' with Peter Jennings was a close second with a 9.0 rating and a 20 share. 'NBC Nightly News' with Tom Brokaw was third with an 8.5 rating and an 19 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 programs for the week ending Sunday, June 25, according to the A.C. Nielsen Co., were:
1. Roseanne (ABC)
2. Cheers (NBC)
3. Dear John (NBC)
4. The Cosby Show (NBC)
5. Golden Girls (NBC)
6. Different World (NBC)
7. The Gifted One, NBC Sunday movie
8. L.A. Law (NBC)
9. Empty Nest (NBC)