Nearly 26 million people accepted CBS' offer to watch "The Last Don," which rubbed out the competition Sunday, according to results issued Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.
The Mario Puzo adaptation, starring Danny Aiello, opened with the highest rating for a CBS miniseries since the "Gone With the Wind" sequel, "Scarlett," aired 2 1/2 years ago. "Last Don" also sank ABC's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," which reeled in half as many viewers.
NBC, led by "ER" with its best ratings since February, still won the week and remains the May sweeps leader; however, its viewership thus far is down compared to last May, while CBS and ABC have shown a yearly gain and Fox has dropped only slightly.
Some established NBC hits slumped last week, as "Frasier" posted its lowest rating ever for a new episode and "Mad About You" had its worst showing since 1993, partly due to airing opposite the Fox movie "Mrs. Doubtfire," starring Robin Williams. "Fired Up" (just renewed for next year) also received a cool reception, losing about 9 million people (or 28%) from the "Seinfeld" audience.