VIEWERS WATCH ABC MINISERIES
“North and South,” with all five of last week’s episodes in the Top 10, gave ABC a rare ratings victory and moved the network into a second-place tie with CBS after seven weeks of the season, according to figures released Tuesday by the A.C. Nielsen Co.
The Sunday finale of the 12-hour miniseries ranked second for the week of Nov. 4-10 with a 29.4 rating, the best performance for any miniseries episode since ABC’s “The Thorn Birds” in 1983. The rating still wasn’t enough to knock NBC’s “The Cosby Show” from its usual top spot. The hit comedy had a 31.9 rating and 46 share.
For the week, ABC, which also won the week it broadcast the World Series, averaged a 19.9 rating. CBS and NBC tied for second with 16.5 ratings. Season to date, NBC leads with a 17.8 rating, with ABC and CBS tied at 16.8.
“North and South” was blasted by many television critics, but it ended up getting higher ratings than network researchers, including ABC had forecast.
“We were quite happy,” said Paul Sonkin, ABC’s vice president of audience and affiliate research. “People watched the first night and stayed with it. They were interested in the subject matter and perceived it to be entertaining.”
“I have to give ABC an awful lot of credit,” said Gerald Jaffe, NBC’s vice president for research projects. “They put down $25 million, took the shot and it paid off for them.”