TV RATINGS : ‘Newhart’ Comes in First but CBS Is Still Last

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Bob Newhart went out in high style. It was no dream: The final episode of his CBS series was the most-watched program on television last week, according to ratings released Wednesday by A. C. Nielsen Co. “Newhart” attracted viewers in about 17.2 million homes and helped bolster the CBS shows that followed it, as “Murphy Brown” and “Designing Women” also placed in the top five. CBS also scored on Tuesday with its movie “Killing in a Small Town,” which ranked seventh. Yet CBS still managed to finish last in the network race, with NBC first and ABC second. Overall, the three major networks attracted only 59% of the prime-time audience last week, meaning that 41% were watching independent stations, public TV, cable or their VCRs. The full list of ratings is on Page 9.

* The season-ending episode of “Twin Peaks” didn’t fare quite as well as “Newhart"--but, then, it hasn’t been on nearly as long. The ABC serial ranked 24th among the week’s 78 prime-time programs with an audience of about 11.6 million homes.

Show Points Share 1. “Newhart” (CBS) 18.7 29 2. “Cheers” (NBC) 18.3 32 3. “Murphy Brown” (CBS) 17.7 27 4. “Designing Women” (CBS) 17.2 26 5. “Roseanne” (ABC) 16.1 26 * “Twin Peaks” (ABC) 12.6 22