NEW YORK -- Super Bowl XXIV was the most watched television event of the week, viewed by a whopping 63 percent of TV viewers, but not even Joe Montana could lift CBS out of the cellar in the ratings race, it was reported Tuesday.
CBS estimates that 109 million viewers saw all or part of the game, down only 2 million from last year despite the fact that this year's match was a blowout.
On the upside for for CBS -- Super Bowl XXIV carried enough of its audience over to the debut of the new series, 'Grand Slam,' to provide a good audience sampling and give the action show a ranking of 15th for the night.
It was CBS's bad luck that the game was so predictably lopsided, which resulted in the lowest rating since Super Bowl III in 1969.
Each rating point in 1990, however, represents many more households than it did two decades ago. Technically, Super Bowl IV in 1970 out-rated Super Bowl XXIV, 39.4 to 39.0. But last Sunday's game had almost twice as many viewers as the estimated 59,190,000 who watched Kansas City beat Minnesota 20 years ago.
This also marks only the third time that the network airing the Super Bowl did not win the week -- NBC managed it in 1979 and 1981. It also is only the second time the Super Bowl network was third for the week -- dating back to NBC in 1979.
The Broncos were not to blame for all of CBS's troubles last week. The network tried some stunting, most of which did not work. On Monday it ran a popular theatrical movie, 'Cocoon,' which tied for 54th. The big winner was the American Music Awards on ABC, which came in 10th for the week.
On Tuesday, the TV movie 'So Proudly We Hail' ranked 66th, on Wednesday the network did well with a Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie, 'Face to Face,' which tied for 29th. Thursday '48 Hours' presented a special 90-minute profile of Paul McCartney, which ranked 57th. On Friday CBS deserted 'Dallas' for Bucharest and 'Daughter of Darkness, which came in 51st.
Then there was 'Super Bowl Saturday,' which came in 74th on a list of 79 shows. On Saturday, NBC's regular lineup was so strong its overall rating of 17.5 with a 31 share was 29 percent above the combined ratings of ABC and CBS.
NBC won the ratings race for the week ending Jan. 28 with a 15.0 rating and a 24 share, according to the A.C. Nielsen Co. ABC took second place with a 13.2 rating and a 21 share, while CBS was third with a 12.8 rating and a 21 share.
The 19-week-old season-to-date ratings show NBC with a 14.8 rating and a 25 share, ABC with a 13.0 rating and a 22 share, and CBS with a 12.8 rating and a 21 share.
In the evening news ratings, ABC's 'World News Tonight' with Peter Jennings continued as No. 1 with a 12.0 rating and a 21 share. 'NBC Nightly News' with Tom Brokaw came in second with an 11.1 and a 20 share and 'CBS Evening News' with Dan Rather slipped to the cellar with a 10.3 rating and a 18 share.
Each ratings point represents about 921,000 households and a share is the percentage of TV sets tuned to a particular show.NEWLN:------
The top 10 programs for the week ending Sunday, Jan. 28, according to the A.C. Nielsen Co., were:
1. Super Bowl XXIV (CBS)
2. Super Bowl Postgame (CBS)
3. (tie) The Cosby Show (NBC)
5. Roseanne (ABC)
6. Different World (NBC)
7. Golden Girls (NBC)
8. Empty Nest (NBC)
9. Wonder Years (ABC)
10. American Music Awards (ABC)