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ABC spells success

Football farewell, 'Housewives' strong

It didn’t do a whole lot in between, but a strong Monday and Sunday bookended a winning frame for ABC last week in young adults.

In the quiet sesh after Christmas, the finale of “Monday Night Football” on ABC and a “Desperate Housewives” recap spec on Sunday were enough for the Alphabet.

ABC’s 2.8 rating/8 share in adults 18-49 during primetime edged out CBS (2.6/8), with Fox and NBC tying for third (2.3/7), according to Nielsen. It was the reverse in adults 25-54, where the Eye topped ABC (3.5/9 to 3.3/9), while CBS made it 15 weeks in a row in total viewers (10.1 million).

Week’s ratings were the first under Nielsen’s methodology shift to include same-day DVR playback into its national sample (Daily Variety, Dec. 22). All recorded programs watched in their entirety by 3 a.m. the next day are now included in the national averages.

This isn’t expected to shift the ratings pendulum very much just yet, as only 7% of American homes have the capability of time-shifting programs.

A repeat of CBS drama “CSI” was the week’s No. 1 program (5.3/15 in 18-49, 17.65m), followed in 18-49 by the final game in the 36-year history of ABC’s “Monday Night Football” pitting the New England Patriots against the New York Jets (5.2/15, 14.43m).

Game meant little in the playoff races and wasn’t a ratings juggernaut, but it sent the franchise out a winner. Beginning next fall, “Monday Night Football” moves to cabler ESPN.

Also for ABC, a recap of the fall’s episodes of “Desperate Housewives” logged a hearty 4.6/12 in 18-49 on Sunday, providing good sampling for new drama “In Justice” (4.0/10 in 18-49, 10.53m) before it moves to its regular night, Friday.

Also during the week, net’s “Primetime” hit a season high Thursday despite remaining third in its slot (2.6/7 in 18-49, 8.04m), and the primetime hour of “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” was a winner (2.4/8 in 18-49, 7.68m).

For CBS, repeats of drama “Criminal Minds” led both its regular Wednesday slot (3.1/8 in 18-49, 10.39m) and its special Thursday-at-8 time period (3.2/9, 11.45m). Also, Tuesday’s “Kennedy Center Honors” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 10.85m) was up year-to-year.

Net was weak Sunday with its Diane Keaton telepic “Surrender Dorothy” (2.1/5 in 18-49, 8.51m).

NBC had a quiet frame, but two firstrun programs led their timeslots in demos: Tuesday’s “Fear Factor” (3.0/9 in 18-49, 7.37m) and Friday’s “Dateline” (2.2/7, 8.59m).

Fox, similarly low-key with a repeat-heavy sked, avoided a fourth-place finish for the week thanks to Sunday’s NFL overrun and postgame show, which averaged a big 6.5/15 in 18-49 in the night’s opening hour.

ESPN used plenty of pigskin action to roll to an easy primetime victory for the week among the cable nets (2.0 rating in 18-49, 6 million viewers overall). In total viewers, it placed fourth among all networks — behind just CBS, ABC and NBC.

Sunday’s Rams-Cowboys NFL game was the week’s top cable program (3.4/8, 9.06m), while the net’s top college game was Wednesday’s Nebraska-Michigan matchup in the Alamo Bowl (2.3/7, 6.89m).

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