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The return of anchorman Dan Rather to the "CBS Evening News" after three weeks on assignment didn't help the broadcast's ratings last week: It again was third in ratings, A.C. Nielsen Co. figures showed Tuesday. The once-dominant program, which now has been in third for four consecutive weeks, averaged an 8.7 rating and a 19% share of the audience in its time period (each ratings point represents 874,000 homes). A CBS News spokesman, asked for comment on the newscast's continued poor showing, said the Nielsen battle of all three network news programs continues to be close and that the ratings will fluctuate this summer. He declined, however, to predict that Rather's program will return where it began last fall--in first place.

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