"Consenting Adult," ABC's adaptation of Laura Hobson's novel about a couple's reaction to their teen-age son's homosexuality, handily gave the network the ratings lead for Monday night, according to overnight statistics from the A. C. Nielsen Co.

The two-hour telefilm, which aired at 9 p.m. (locally on KABC-TV Channel 7), earned a four-city average of a 25.5 rating and a 38 share, besting NBC's made-for-TV offering, "The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission" (9 p.m. on KNBC Channel 4) which brought in a 19.1 rating and a 29 share for the same statistical area.

CBS stuck with its regular fare during that time period--"Kate & Allie," "Newhart" and "Cagney & Lacey"--and came in last, with a combined two-hour average of a 12.3 rating and an 18 share.

The four cities sampled by the Nielsen company are New York, Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Los Angeles viewers followed the network pattern, giving "Consenting Adult" a 22.1 rating/36 share, "Dirty Dozen" 18.7/31 and CBS' 9-11 p.m. lineup a combined average of 8.4/14.

A nine-city average for the entire prime time--8 to 11 p.m.--gave the networks the same ranking, with ABC earning an 22.4 rating and 32 share, NBC 18.4/27 and CBS 13.4/19.

A rating is an indication of viewership compared to the total number of potential viewing households in the country, while a share is the percentage of households tuned in during that particular time period.

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