NEW YORK -- Salman Rushdie came out of hiding just long enough last week to boost '60 Minutes' to No. 1 on the Nielsen prime time ratings list, it was reported Tuesday.
NBC won the week -- but just barely, only one-tenth of a ratings point ahead of ABC and and three-tenth of a point ahead of CBS.
In the ratings for the week ending Oct. 28, according to the A.C. Nielsen Co., NBC won with a 12.5 rating, ABC had a 12.4 and CBS a 12.2. All three posted a 21 share.
The '60 Minutes' show containing the interview with the author of 'The Satanic Verses' -- who remains under a death sentence issued by Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini -- was one of four CBS shows to make the Nielsen top 10. That's the same number of CBS shows to make that exclusive club the previous week -- but those were all World Series games.
The six-week-old season-to-date statistics point to a really tight race, with CBS only one-tenth of a ratings point behind No. 1 NBC. NBC leads with a 13.2 rating and 22 share, followed by CBS with a 13.1 rating and a 22 share. ABC is not far behind with a 12.7 rating and a 21 share.
Night-by-night competition saw NBC win Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, while ABC took Monday and Friday and CBS captured Sunday.
Audience reaction to the season's new shows continues to range in large part from apathy to tedium. Exceptions were 'America's Funniest People' (ABC) in 20th place, the top-rated of the new shows. 'Law and Order' (NBC), now ensconced in its regular Tuesday slot instead of substituting for 'L.A. Law' on Thursday, was second among the newcomers in 31st.
Those encouragingly above 50th place on a list of 92 shows included 'Married People' (ABC), 32nd; 'The Trials of Rose O'Neill' (CBS) tied for 40th; 'Over My Dead Body' (CBS), 43rd; 'Fresh Prince of Bel Air' (NBC) tied for 44th; 'Uncle Buck' (CBS), 46th, and 'Going Places' (ABC) tied for 49th.
Between 50th and 60th place were 'American Dreamer' (NBC), 51st; 'WIOU' (CBS), 52nd; 'The Flash' (CBS), 56th; 'Gabriel's Fire' (ABC), 57th and 'Ferris Bueller' (NBC), 59th.
CBS borrowed a couple of stars from 'L.A. Law' to win the Sunday movie contest, with Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker in 'The Secret Life of Archie's Wife,' tied for 33rd. The theatrical film 'Lethal Weapon' on NBC was in 35th place, and ABC's theatrical, 'Stakeout,' was 55th.
The much-touted family feud between the Huxtables and the Simpsons continues to fizzle instead of sizzle -- 'The Cosby Show' on NBC tied for eighth place, while Fox's 'The Simpsons' tied for 24th. That still makes it the highest-rated Fox show of the week and gives the neo- network a good start on Thursday night. Unfortunately for Fox, 'Babes,' the show that follows 'The Simpsons,' tied for 75th.
ABC's 'World News Tonight' was No. 1 for the 42nd consecutive week, with a 10.6 rating and a 21 share. 'CBS Evening News' with Dan Rather came in second with a 9.5 rating and a 19 share, while 'NBC Nightly News' with Tom Brokaw had a 9.1 rating and an 18 share.
Each ratings point represents about 921,000 households. A share is the percentage of TV sets in use that are tuned to a particular show or network.NEWLN: ------
The top 10 programs for the week ending Sunday, Oct. 28, according to the A.C. Nielsen Co., were:
1. 60 Minutes (CBS)
2. Cheers (NBC)
3. Roseanne (ABC)
4. Designing Women (CBS)
5. Murphy Brown (CBS)
6. Murder, She Wrote (CBS)
7. America's Funniest Home Videos (ABC)
8. (tie) The Cosby Show (NBC)
Empty Nest (NBC)
10. A Different World (NBC)