TV Ratings : NBC Gets a Super Boost in Season Race

How important are TV rights to the Super Bowl? This important: The big numbers NBC racked up Sunday with the Dallas Cowboys-Pittsburgh Steelers game helped the network double its lead over ABC in the 1995-96 prime-time ratings race.

Last week NBC was nursing a 0.4-point lead in the season-to-date standings. In the figures released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research, that lead had jumped to 0.8 thanks to the best Super Bowl ratings since 1986. The closeness of the game, in which quarterback Troy Aikman guided Dallas to victory, undoubtedly kept viewership high.

The football championship had an average audience of 94.1 million viewers from start to finish--nearly three times the number of people who normally tune in to an episode of “ER,” TV’s top-rated series this season. And the total number of people who watched at least part of the game was a record 138.5 million.


NBC also benefited last week from President Clinton’s State of the Union speech, which preempted much of the Tuesday schedule that ABC normally wins.


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.


Program Network Rating 1. Friends (Sun.) KNBC 30.1 2. ER KNBC 25.8 3. Seinfeld KNBC 22.7 4. Friends KNBC 19.7 5. Mad About You (Thu.) KNBC 17.8 6. Caroline in the City KNBC 17.6 7. PrimeTime Live KABC 16.0 -. Home Improvement KABC 16.0 9. “Sportsbowl ’95" KNBC 14.9 10. Melrose Place KTTV 14.7


Weekly Averages

NBC: 18.2

ABC: 9.5

CBS: 8.7

FOX: 6.1

UPN: 4.1

WB: 2.4

Season to Date

NBC: 12.0

ABC: 11.2

CBS: 9.5

FOX: 7.4

UPN: 3.1

WB: 2.4

Source: A.C. Nielsen