An estimated 72 million people watched Joan Collins scheme her way to success and revenge as the CBS miniseries "Sins" triumphed over NBC's "Peter the Great" in head-to-head competition.
The seven-hour "Sins" got a rating of 20.7 over three nights this week--Sunday, Monday and Tuesday--according to the A.C. Nielsen Co. The audience figure is CBS' estimate of how many saw all or part of the series.
The eight-hour "Peter the Great," which ran one night longer, received a rating of 17.7 from Sunday through Wednesday. NBC estimated that 75 million people saw all or part of the series. The NBC audience is higher because the show ran four nights.
The share of the audience for "Sins" for three nights was 31 percent. "Peter the Great" had a share of 27% over four nights.
Although "Sins" won in the national ratings, "Peter the Great" was the winner each night in the 12-city overnight ratings. The overnights poll the 12 largest television markets in the country.
The $15-million "Sins" starred Collins as a sexy, social-climbing publisher who sought to save her magazine empire and to exact revenge on the Nazis who killed her family in World War II.
The $26-million "Peter the Great" starred Maximilian Schell as the 17th-Century czar who brought Russia into the modern world.
The victory of "Sins" probably will not be significant enough to affect the outcome of the ratings race between CBS and NBC. NBC has been in first place and CBS in second place since the beginning of the current season. ABC is in third place.
The first episode of "Sins" was only No. 16 in the national ratings for the week ended Feb. 2. "Peter the Great" was in 20th place. NBC won the week.
As miniseries go, the ratings for "Sins" were not in the blockbuster category. The last major miniseries, ABC's "North and South," averaged a rating of 26.0 last November and ranked 14th among all miniseries.
ABC's "Roots," telecast in 1977, had an average rating of 45.0. The ratings of "Sins" are the same as those received by NBC's "Greatest Heroes of the Bible" in 1978, which placed 25th among all miniseries.