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.