Advertising Age
September 8, 1986

TV Power Shares

Power Shares tracks several network tv prime time shows, based on the number of share points by which the programs won or lost their time periods.  Power share ratings are listed for the previous three weeks under the program name.  This methodology helps demonstrate whether a program that is highly rated is really dominant or whether a weak show is stronger than it might otherwise appear.  Source: A.C. Nielsen Co.'s national rights.

"Amazing Stories" (NBC); Week ending 8/31 (minus 1); 8/24 (minus 2); 8/17 (DNA).  The amazing story here is that this show has had an erratic performance since joining the NBC Monday lineup in June, and there is no apparent reason for the swings.  During the past four weeks, "Amazing Stories" appears to have settled around a 24 share.  But the show has dipped as much as 6 share points some weeks, raising the old notion that anthologies are not models of consistency.  Nevertheless, the recent signs of strength are encouraging, given that it had a poor track record on Sunday, its previous night, and the fact it will be on Mondays come the '86-87 season.

"Magnum, P.I." (CBS); 8/31 (minus 12); 8/24 (minus 7); 8/17 (minus 8).  "Magnum" has had a taste of what life will be like when it faces off with "Dynasty" this fall: Very difficult.  CBS pitted the show against "Moonlighting" this summer, possibly to test it against a strong female-oriented show.  The results have been, well, less than satisfactory.  Except for a blip in mid-August, "Magnum" has been pulling only 18 to 19 shares.  It achieved a 22 share average against "Cosby" during the regular season.

"Growing Pains" (ABC); 8/31 (plus 11); 8/24 (plus 10); 8/17 (DNA).  "Growing Pains" has become a model of consistency for ABC; rarely does the show dip below a 30 share and rarely does it exceed 32.  And this was during the summer, when its episodes were repeats.  All signs point to a megahit for the network this fall.  "The Cosby Show" also pulled solid and consistent numbers during its first summer in repeats.  Although "Pains" lacks the star appeal of "Cosby" (Alan Thicke will never be a Bill Cosby), look for the show to add at least 5 share points.

"CBS Sunday Night Movie"; 8/24 (plus 5); 8/17 (plus 8); 8/10 (plus 6).  CBS has come up with a winner on the Sunday movie even when it presents gems with titles like "He's Fired; She's Hired" or "One Cooks, the Other Doesn't."  Thanks is certainly due to lead-in "Murder, She Wrote," and the competition rarely serves up anything tempting enough to break the audience's CBS Sunday fix.  Life was not always so easy for the network this summer, though.  Both NBC and ABC traded victories in the Sunday movie slot in June and July.

"Perfect Strangers" (ABC); 8/31 (minus 2); 8/24 (plus 6); 8/17 (minus 5).  "Strangers" has had a very respectable run against very formidable odds since moving to its current Wednesday 8 p.m. (ET) berth in early August -- the same spot it will air in come fall.  No, the show hasn't beaten "Highway to Heaven," but it wasn't expected to.  It was expected to beat CBS, which it has done every week.  CBS will oppose the show with a new half-hour sitcom -- "Together We Stand" -- in the fall. But the battle for Wednesday at 8 p.m. may be over already.