‘Cosby’ Ratings Off a Little

Ratings for CBS’ “Cosby” dropped 14% in the show’s second telecast Monday night--not enough to set hearts fluttering at the network.

The new Bill Cosby comedy still won its time period handily and gave a pretty good wringing to the red neck of NBC’s “The Jeff Foxworthy Show” in its premiere at 8 p.m.

Although the drop suggests that a certain number of viewers sampled the “Cosby” premiere Sept. 16 and opted not to return, CBS officials would be pleased if the show held at Monday’s 14.9 rating (each point equals 970,000 homes).

Viewership declined from 24.7 million people and 27% of the available audience the first week to 21.2 million and 24% of viewers this week. Any significant further erosion could present a setback for CBS, which has made “Cosby"--for which it’s paying more than $1 million per episode--the centerpiece of its prime-time strategy.

Despite extensive promotional time thrown behind the program during the Olympics, “Foxworthy” attracted 15% of the available audience, and the show following it, the new sitcom “Mr. Rhodes,” dropped to 13% of viewers. NBC acquired the Foxworthy show last spring after a season on ABC.