On October 6, 1991, three TV movies aired against each other at 9:00pm, with the fourth network airing two sitcom episodes as a competition. The winner in that fight for the viewers was CBS, who aired the family drama FIRE IN THE DARK, dealing with an aging widow and her rising issues of disability. With 20.3 million viewers, the movie might have not been #1 in that time slot with viewers (because FOX’s MARRIED… WITH CHILDREN had 1.3 million viewers more), but the program was #1 in that time slot in the Household ratings, with a 14.8/23. Against NBC’s BABE RUTH and ABC’s HEROES OF DESERT STORM, it was enough to win the 9:00pm hour, but not enough to win the day.
CBS didn’t care much about that though, because they won the day with all their programs (60 MINUTES won the day, came in #2 in the weekly Nielsen charts) anyway. FIRE IN THE DARK came in #24 in the weekly charts – in this case the movie nearly missed being in the upper quarter of the charts. Weirdly though, it was the most successful TV movie of the week. In a time, where the market for TV movies and 2-part miniseries were high, the first week of October of 1991 must have been a dull in that regard.