It was just like the old days of "Must See TV" last week as NBC dominated the top of the Nielsen ratings list with seven of the top ten shows. Those shows were either episodes of the network's America's Got Talent or they were related to football (either the games themselves or the pregame analyses), but no one was complaining, except, perhaps, a few TV writers, who regard the primetime football telecasts and talent shows as threats to scripted entertainment. The top-rated show of the week was NBC's Sunday Night Football telecast, which drew 21.1 million viewers. (By contrast, Leno's much-hyped primetime premiere on Monday drew 17.56 million viewers.) Among the nightly newscasts, NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams and ABC World News With Charles Gibson wound up in a virtual tie as viewers tuned into Gibson's program during the week that he announced his retirement plans. The ABC newscast averaged 7.24 million viewers, while the NBC 'cast averaged 7.15 million, a difference that is considered statistically insignificant but did allow ABC to boast that it had overtaken NBC for the first time in months. The CBS Evening News With Katie Couric remained far behind with 5.16 million viewers.
The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research 1. Sunday Night Football, NBC, 12.6/21; 2. NFL Thursday Special, NBC, 12.8/22; 3. Sunday Night NFL Pre-kickoff, NBC, 10/17; 4. NBC NFL Thursday Pre-kickoff, NBC, 9.5/17; 5. America's Got Talent (Tuesday), NBC, 7.2/12; 6. Football Night in America Pt. 3, NBC, 7.2/12; 7. The OT, Fox, 6.8/12; 8. NCIS , CBS, 7.2/12; 9. 60 Minutes , CBS, 6.9/12; 10. America's Got Talent (Wednesday 9 00 p.m.), NBC, 6.2/10.