It took two World Series games on ABC to nudge NBC off the Nielsen ratings throne, ending the network's winning streak that had stretched to 68 consecutive weeks, it was reported Tuesday.
ABC won the Nielsen ratings race for the week ending Oct. 15, with a 14.8 rating and a 25 share, barely edging out second-place NBC with a 14 rating and a 24 share. CBS took third place with a 12.5 rating and a 21 share.
Ironically, ABC's two World Series games failed to make the list of top 10 shows for the week. Sunday's broadcast of the second game between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A's took 16th place, while the Saturday night opener tied for 18th place with a Wednesday broadcast of ABC's 'Doogie Howser, M.D.'
Perhaps even more ironically, the averages for Saturday and Sunday night showed NBC and CBS winning. NBC's regular programming schedule on Saturday averaged a 16.1 rating and a 30 share, while ABC's had a 15.6 rating and a 29 share.
CBS scored the same coup over ABC on Sunday. Its regular programming won the night with a 17 rating and a 28 share, and ABC tallied a 15.2 rating and a 25 share, even with the Series telecast.
However, NBC rebounded in the top 10 category over last week, when seven ABC shows commanded top honors.
ABC's 'Roseanne,' doing its usual battle for the No. 1 spot with NBC's 'The Cosby Show,' held firm with a 26.1 rating and a 41 share. 'Cosby' was in second place with a 23.5 rating and a 40 share.
Including 'Cosby,' NBC placed five shows in the top 10 - 'Cheers,' 'A Different World,' 'The Golden Girls' and 'Dear John.'
ABC had four shows in the top 10 including 'Roseanne. 'The Wonder Years' dropped to fifth place from its No. 3 spot the week before, followed by 'Who's the Boss.' The only new show of the season to place in the top 10 was 'Chicken Soup' in ninth place, down from its No. 7 slot a week ago.
'Murder, She Wrote,' one of the few CBS shows that usually places in the top 10, was in eighth place.
The season premiere of 'Hunter' on NBC placed a respectable 17th despite the Saturday night baseball competition, scoring a 16.7 rating and a 32 share, equalling its premiere share of last year despite its similar time slot, opposite the Series.
The Friday night premiere of a new NBC show, 'Mancuso FBI,' starring Robert Loggia, was in 57th place.
NBC still has two season premieres waiting in the wings. 'In the Heat of the Night' is scheduled to air Tuesday, Oct. 24. The season opener of the Emmy Award-winning series, 'L.A. Law' is taking its time getting to airwaves, scheduled for Nov. 2.
The usual Sunday night movie competition was between NBC and CBS only, with ABC broadcasting the second World Series game. CBS's telecast of the sultry movie 'The Big Easy,' starring Dennis Quaid, was in 22nd place, and NBC's 'An Eight is Enough Wedding' was in 23rd place.
The new CBS show 'Major Dad,' the leadoff sitcom in the network's all-comedy Monday night lineup, was in 33rd place, down considerably from its No. 22 spot a week ago.
Down at the bottom, CBS's 'Tour of Duty' was in 75th place, and 'Saturday Night with Connie Chung' tied for 76th with Fox Broadcasting Co.'s 'Open House.'
It was all Fox at the end with 'Alien Nation,' 78th; '21 Jump Street' and a '21 Jump Street Special,' 79th and 80th; 'Cops,' 81st; 'The Tracey Ullman Show,' 82nd; 'The Reporters,' 83rd; 'The Garry Shandling Show,' 84th; and 'Beyond Tomorrow,' 85th.
Once again, the top-rated Fox show was 'Married ... With Children' in 52nd place, quite a drop from its 38th place showing a week ago.
In the nightly news category, ABC's 'World News Tonight' with Peter Jennings was in first place with a 9.9 rating and a 21 share, followed by 'The CBS Evening News' with Dan Rather, with a 9.3 rating and 19 share. 'NBC Nightly News' with Tom Brokaw had an 9.0 rating and an 19 share.
Each ratings point represents about 921,000 households and a share is the percentage of TV sets tuned to a particular show.
The top 10 programs for the week ending Sunday, Oct. 15, according to the A.C. Nielsen Co., were:
1. Roseanne (ABC)
2. The Cosby Show (NBC)
3. Cheers (NBC)
4. A Different World (NBC)
5. The Wonder Years (ABC)
6. Who's the Boss (ABC)
7. The Golden Girls (NBC)
8. Murder, She Wrote (CBS)
9. Chicken Soup (ABC)