If last week's Nielsen ratings (released Tuesday) hold any augur for the networks' fall programming--when the writers' strike and possible additional labor problems with crafts unions could delay the premieres of new shows--it might be a long, long TV season if no new programming shows up. The traditional NBC Thursday night lineup locked up the top three spots (though last week the spinoff series, "A Different World," outperformed its parent, "The Cosby Show"), but other usual Top 10 fixtures such as ABC's "Growing Pains" and CBS' "Murder, She Wrote" have fallen on harder times--to 17th and 15th places, respectively. CBS won the week's evening news derby, beating out ABC by a narrow margin (about 250,000 households) and NBC by a much larger one (almost 1.8 million homes). A complete ratings list is on Page 11.
* Time will tell if the new scripts that the Writers Guild of America has allowed this show--and this show only --to produce will improve its lackluster ratings. The show's topical humor has suffered more from the lack of fresh material than have most other programs.
Show Points Share Week 1. A Different World 23.6 39 4/24 (NBC) (repeat) 2. The Cosby Show 22.9 40 4/24 (NBC) (repeat) 3. Cheers 22.1 36 4/24 (NBC) (repeat) 4. Golden Girls 19.7 36 4/24 (NBC) (repeat) 5. "When the Bough Breaks" 18.6 31 4/24 (NBC Monday Night Movies) (repeat) * Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour 7.8 13 4/24 (CBS) (repeat)