TV Ratings : Putting the Best Face on It: CBS Sets a New Mark

Premiere week for CBS was a voyage on the Titanic. Prime-time ratings released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research for the first week of the 1995-96 TV season showed CBS falling 14% below what had been its previous low-water mark for an opening week last year.

CBS was represented by only "Murphy Brown" among the week's 15 highest-rated programs and had only seven in the Top 40. "60 Minutes" was 19th and "Murder, She Wrote," in its new time slot on Thursdays, was 55th. CBS trailed its three major rivals in the battle for the 18- to 49-year-old viewers that advertisers prefer.

ABC, the defending prime-time champion, won the first week in both households and the 18-to-49 age viewers. Fox was the only network to improve on its household rating from a year ago, by about 5%, as it got a best-ever rating for "The X-Files" on Friday night.

NBC, meanwhile, had the highest rated new series of the week in "Caroline in the City," the sitcom with Lea Thompson that is wedged between powerhouses "Seinfeld" and "ER." Other newcomers that did well included NBC's "The Single Guy," ABC's "Hudson Street," "Murder One" and "The Naked Truth," and CBS' "Can't Hurry Love."

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Southland Ratings

Here are A. C. Nielsen's Top 10 prime-time programs in the Los Angeles area during the same week. Each rating point equals 50,064 households.

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Program Network Rating 1. Seinfeld KNBC 26.6 2. ER KNBC 26.5 3. Home Improvement KABC 21.6 4. Friends KNBC 21.0 5. Caroline in the City KNBC 20.6 6. Murphy Brown KCBS 20.2 7. The Single Guy KNBC 19.4 8. Frasier KNBC 17.7 -. Coach KABC 17.7 10. The X-Files KTTV 16.8

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Weekly Averages

ABC: 12.4

NBC: 11.6

CBS: 9.9

FOX: 7.9

UPN: 3.4

WB: 2.0

Season to Date

ABC: 12.4

NBC: 11.6

CBS: 9.9

FOX: 7.9

UPN: 3.4

WB: 2.0

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