Viewers responded in something less than overwhelming fashion Sunday to the premiere of "A.D.," the 12-hour miniseries that NBC has been hyping as the TV event of the year.
Overnight Nielsen ratings from nine major U.S. cities indicated Monday that the first three-hour installment was not a blockbuster. Its share of the viewing audience ranged from a high of 39% in New York and Philadelphia to a low of 25% in Dallas.
In Los Angeles, "A.D.," which dramatizes events in the years after Jesus was crucified, attracted 34% of the people watching TV between 8 and 11 p.m., more than were tuned to any other channel.
But it did not fare as well in some other cities. CBS' "Murder, She Wrote" garnered more viewers than the first hour of "A.D." in San Francisco, Dallas and Washington, and the final half-hour of ABC's telecast of the 1967 James Bond film "You Only Live Twice" outdrew the miniseries in Detroit.
"A.D." continues nightly through Thursday. Meanwhile, national ratings for Sunday's premiere will be released by the A. C. Nielsen Co. today.