NBC's juggernaut team went into the New Year's bowl games with an unbeaten record, but with powerhouse Bill Cosby on the sidelines, CBS pulled an upset in the television Nielsen ratings.
CBS, led by "Murder, She Wrote," deftly moved ahead of the first-place network for the week ended Jan. 4. NBC's "The Cosby Show" and the rest of the Thursday night lineup were preempted by football.
"It would have been nice to show up here with an 18-0 record for the season," Brandon Tartikoff, president of NBC Entertainment, said, "but 17-1 isn't bad."
CBS not only won the week in prime time but "The CBS Evening News" also took first place in the evening news shows from NBC. It was the first prime-time victory for CBS and the first defeat for NBC since the week ended Aug. 31.