NBC got off to a fast start in the November sweeps, thanks to the theatrical film "Three Men and a Baby," it was reported today.
Sweeps is the period when the ratings companies go into local markets and abandon their gadgetry to take a look at the diaries selected viewers keep of their viewing habits.
While sweeps count heads in about 200 local markets, they are important to the networks because their findings are used to help set local advertising rates.
In both the Nielsen and Arbitron count, NBC leads, CBS is No. 2 and ABC trails.
"Three Men and a Baby" came in fourth on the Nielsen list, with the highest ratings of any theatrical movie on network television since NBC ran "Top Gun" in May, 1989.
It was enough to put NBC into second place on Sunday night for the first time this season, but not enough to dislodge CBS from winning the night, as it often does.
CBS had the No. 2 movie, "83 Hours 'Til Dawn," tied for 29th, but won the night on the strength of "60 Minutes" in second place and "Murder, She Wrote," which tied for seventh.
ABC's Sunday movie, "The Last Best Year," tied for 46th.
Sunday carries a lot of weight in the ratings because it offers four hours of prime time instead of three and is the most-watched night of the week.
In the ratings for the week ending Nov. 4, according to A. C. Nielsen Co., NBC won with a 13.5 rating and a 23 share. CBS came in second with a 12.6 rating and a 21 share, while ABC had an 11.9 rating and a 20 share.
The 7-week-old season-to-date statistics point to a tight race, with CBS only three-tenths of a ratings point behind No. 1 NBC. NBC leads with a 13.3 rating and 22 share, followed by CBS with a 13.0 rating and a 22 share. ABC is not far behind with a 12.5 rating and a 21 share.
The only new show in the top 10 was "America's Funniest People" (ABC), which came in 10th and is a clone of "America's Funniest Home Videos."
Aside from "Funniest People," the top-rated new show of the week was a special edition of "Evening Shade," which came in 24th when it aired on the CBS Monday night comedy lineup, which included "Designing Women" tied for fifth, "Murphy Brown" in ninth and "Major Dad" tied for 13th. In its regular Friday night time period, "Evening Shade" tied for 58th.
Other new shows in the top 50 included "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" (NBC), 31st; "Married People" (ABC), 40th; "The Trials of Rosie O'Neill" (CBS), 42nd, and "Over My Dead Body" (CBS), 50th.
Each ratings point represents about 921,000 households. A share is the percentage of TV sets in use that are tuned to a particular show or network.
THE TOP 10
The top 10 programs for the week ending Sunday, according to the A.C. Nielsen Co.:
1. Cheers (NBC)
2. 60 Minutes (CBS)
3. The Cosby Show (NBC)
4. NBC Sunday movie
5. (tie) Designing Women (CBS)
7. (tie) Murder, She Wrote (CBS)
Funniest Home Videos (ABC)
9. Murphy Brown (CBS)
10. Funniest People (ABC)