With less than a month left in the official 1991-92 television season, ABC got some good news last week. But CBS is still the one doing most of the celebrating.
Powered by its Tuesday night lineup of sitcoms, ABC won a weekly ratings battle for the first time this season. The No. 3 network overall hadn't won a week in almost a year. (ABC's last win was the week ending March 25, 1991.)ABC averaged a 12.3 rating, CBS an 11.6 and NBC a 10.6.
But for the season-to-date, CBS has built an insurmountable lead by averaging a 13.9 rating to NBC's 12.5 and ABC's 12.1. ABC does have at least a mathematical chance of catching NBC for second, but that's not likely.
When the final numbers are tallied up after the week ending April 12, CBS will have become the first network ever to jump from third place to first in a single season - no small accomplishment.
CBS' competitors have been quick to point out that the Big Eye's lead was padded by events like the World Series, the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics, which is true. But CBS is also in the lead in regular programming, albeit by a smaller margin.
If you want to see how your favorite shows stack up, check the accompanying chart. More important than how a show finished last week is where it ranks for the season - and how it compares to the shows it's competing against in the same time slot.
Here are a few other points of interest:
- TOP-RATED SHOW: Barring some unforeseen cataclysm, CBS' "60 Minutes" will end the season as the top-rated show on television, beating out ABC's second-place "Roseanne," which was on top during the 1990-91 regular season.
"60 Minutes" has been No. 1 before - but it was way back in the 1982-83 season.
- BART BEATS BILL - AGAIN: "The Cosby Show" is bowing out at the end of the season, and while still a success in the ratings, it's fading - down to No. 18 for the season.
Most significantly, "Cosby" has finished behind Fox's "The Simpsons" two of the last four weeks. Those are the only two times "The Simpsons" have beaten original episodes of "Cosby."
And that has the folks at Fox drooling over the prospect of Thursday nights without the Huxtables.
- JERRY BEATS INDY: It's still to early to say for sure whether it will achieve hit status, but "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" certainly didn't live up to ABC's expectations last week.
After making the top 10 with its two-hour premiere, "Chronicles" fell to No. 29 last week. More significantly, the first half-hour of the show lost to "Seinfeld."
- THE NEW SHOWS: Of the more than 50 shows that have debuted on the four networks this season, just one is an unqualified hit. "Home Improvement" is No. 6 for the season-to-date.
Only two others even make the top 40 - "Nurses" as No. 34 and "Step By Step" at No. 38.
As for the made-in-Park City series "Boys of Twilight," after averaging an 8.8 rating its first two weeks it fell to a 6.9 this past Saturday. It was No. 74 for the week and is No. 87 for the season.