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NBC Makes a 'Noble' Win

February 23, 1988|RICK SHERWOOD

Olympic coverage lost the battle but won the war for ABC Sunday night in the 15 cities surveyed overnight by the A.C. Nielsen Co.

"Noble House," the four-part miniseries on which NBC is placing great sweeps importance, topped all programming during the evening with a 20.4 rating from 9 to 11 p.m. That compared to a 17.5 for ABC's Winter Olympics and an 11.7 for CBS's "Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis" telefilm during the same period.

Coverage of the XV Olympic Games also was second in the early evening ratings, soundly defeated by CBS' "60 Minutes" and "Murder, She Wrote" from 7 to 9 p.m. But it finished slightly ahead of NBC's usually strong "Family Ties" and "My Two Dads" from 8 to 9.

The massive audience switch from CBS to NBC for "Noble House" at 9, however, resulted in an overall win for ABC, which registered a 17.5 ratings average throughout prime time. NBC and CBS, with averages brought down by alternately low-rated programming, tied the night with 16.3 averages.

In Los Angeles, the 9 to 11 p.m. battle resulted in an even stronger win for "Noble House" and the CBS early-evening schedule, but here the result was a prime-time win for CBS from 7 to 11 p.m. It had a 16.6 average compared to ABC's 16.1 and NBC's 16.

Ratings for Olympics coverage has been strong and steady but slightly below ABC's expectations. Saturday night's coverage (when Team USA won its first gold medal) did score a whopping 24.6 rating and lured 40% of the night's prime-time TV audience in the 15-city overnights, but it has been averaging audience shares only in the high 20s. The network promised to deliver advertisers Nielsen shares in the low 30s.

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