Times Staff Writer

As expected, Sunday's opening installment of ABC's steamy "Hollywood Wives" miniseries was among the highest-rated network shows last week. But the network failed to escape third place in the week's ratings averages, A. C. Nielsen Co. figures showed Tuesday.

CBS won the week with an 18.2 rating, followed by NBC with 16.2 and ABC with 15.3

For the third consecutive week, Bill Cosby's hit "The Cosby Show" on NBC was the nation's most-watched prime-time program, seen in 22.6 million homes.

The first chapter of ABC's much-publicized "Hollywood Wives," based on Jackie Collins' best-selling novel about unbridled ambition and loose behavior in Tinseltown, was No. 7 in last week's ratings, seen in nearly 18.7 million homes.

(National rankings for the program's second and third episodes, aired Monday and Tuesday nights, won't be available until next Tuesday.)

The second and concluding segment of CBS' "The Atlanta Child Murders" was No. 10 in the national Nielsens last week. However, despite the controversy surrounding its opening episode, the ratings for the final chapter were slightly lower than for the TV movie's premiere.

The Feb. 12 conclusion of Abby Mann's disputed docudrama was seen in more than 17.7 million homes. The program's two-hour premiere Feb. 10 was seen in nearly 18 million homes, according to Nielsen estimates.

The final regular episode of "Call to Glory," ABC's critically acclaimed series about an Air Force family in the 1960s, was among the nation's least-watched programs last week, seen only in about 7 million homes.

The series, heavily promoted during ABC's Summer Olympics telecasts, was the nation's top-rated show when it premiered last August.

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