The whistle blew for the start of the National Football League season and viewers flocked to "Monday Night Football." Last week's game between Washington and Dallas was the most-watched program on TV, with the A.C. Nielsen Co. estimating Tuesday that people in about 18 million homes tuned in. ABC had five other programs in the Top 10 and handily won the network competition for the week, averaging an 11.2 rating in prime time, compared to 9.2 for NBC, 8.3 for CBS and 7.8 for Fox.
Particularly good news for ABC was the performance of its new medical drama "Going to Extremes," which finished at No. 8 in its second week on the air. Its Sunday night TV movie, "A Murderous Affair: The Carolyn Warmus Story," was No. 5.
Fox got a boost from the season premiere of "Married . . . With Children" on Sunday, which came in at No. 6, and from "The Simpsons," which won its Thursday time period with a rerun, but two premiering series didn't do as well. "Flying Blind" on Sunday finished at No. 55 and "Likely Suspects" on Friday was No. 91 among the week's 98 prime-time programs.
The other series making its first outing last week was "Frannie's Turn" on CBS, which won its Sunday time period and ranked No. 27 overall. It will normally air on Saturdays.
* Viewers may have been anxious for the return of pro football, but they weren't nearly as enthusiastic about "Back to School '92." CBS' two-hour special calling attention to some of the major education issues of the day was watched by only 10% of the available audience, representing about 5.9 million homes. The program ranked No. 81 overall.
Points Share 1. "Monday Night Football" (ABC) 19.3 34 2. "Roseanne" (ABC) 18.6 30 3. "Coach" (ABC) 17.0 28 4. "60 Minutes" (CBS) 15.3 28 5. "A Murderous Affair" (ABC) 15.0 25 * "Back to School '92" (CBS) 6.0 10
(Each rating point represents 931,000 homes. Share is the percentage of viewing audience.)