Fox, CBS prevail as award shows suffer

Football again played a huge role in determining the winning network in primetime last week, with a victorious Fox bookending the week with Monday’s college championship and Sunday’s conclusion of a huge NFL playoff game.

CBS wasn’t too shabby, running second in demos and first in total viewers, thanks to its own football feast on Saturday night.

The writers strike, meanwhile, had a significant effect on the ratings for both the Golden Globe Awards and the People’s Choice Awards.

The Globes on NBC, which was reduced to a one-hour recap of a press conference reading of winners, averaged a listless (and fifth place) 1.7/4 in 18-49 and 6.04 million viewers overall — a fraction of the previous year’s three-hour glitzy traditional telecast (6.5/15 in 18-49, 20.04m).

And “People’s Choice” on CBS drew its weakest numbers to date (1.6/4, 5.96m) for a show that featured host Queen Latifah presenting the awards to winners on location.

Overall for the week of Jan. 7-13, Fox’s 4.7 rating/12 share in adults 18-49 easily topped runner-up CBS (3.9/10), according to Nielsen, with non-football nets NBC (2.7/7) and ABC (2.6/7) well behind. Univision remained fifth (1.4/4), followed by CW and USA in a tie for sixth (0.9/3).

Fox’s domination also extended to the other demos like adults 25-54 (5.2/12) and persons 12-34 (3.7/11), while CBS held the edge over Fox in overall audience (13.3 million to 12.9 million).

Key to Fox’s victory was Sunday, where the final hour of the New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys NFL playoff game drew more than 45 million viewers and a 45 share in 18-49. Game overall averaged 40 million viewers, making it the most-watched telecast on any net since February’s Academy Awards on ABC.

Football action led into strong numbers for a special preview of new drama “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” at 8 o’clock(7.7/18, 18.36m), and season highs for 9 o’clock laffers “Family Guy” (5.5/12, 11.32m) and “American Dad” (4.2/9, 8.62m).

“Sarah” came back to earth as expected Monday of this week (4.2/10, 10.08m), placing second in 18-49 to NBC’s “Deal or No Deal” (5.0/12, 15.08m) but building nicely on its “Prison Break” lead-in (3.3/8, 7.87m). While not spectacular, this is a good number if it can stay at this level.

Fox also dominated Monday with college football’s BCS title game between Louisiana State and Ohio State (8.2/21 in 18-49, 23.07m).

At CBS, Saturday’s New England-Jacksonville NFL playoff game averaged a huge 11.5/32 in 18-49 and 30.90 million viewers overall — the best perf on the night for the net since its coverage of the 1994 Winter Olympics.

Network also received solid perfs from dramas including “CSI” (5.0/12, 18.18m), “Criminal Minds” (3.8/10, 14.30m) and “Ghost Whisperer” (2.8/9, 9.86m), and then got off to a pretty good start Sunday with the first night of mini “Comanche Moon” (3.3/8, 15.76m).

NBC had a great start to the week with the timeslot debut of “American Gladiators” (4.8/12, 10.91m), which logged the net’s best result in Monday’s leadoff hour in 10 months. And the next night, “Biggest Loser” (4.3/11, 10.13m) and “Law & Order: SVU” (5.1/14, 15.15m) combined for the Peacock’s top-rated non-Olympics Tuesday in two years.

Net also won Wednesday, led by “Deal or No Deal” (3.6/10, 13.47m). Thursday, “My Name Is Earl” (3.4/9 in 18-49, 7.74m) and “ER” (3.5/9, 9.07m) led their slots in 18-49.

ABC was paced by “Grey’s Anatomy” (7.1/17, 17.68m), with the medical drama’s final firstrun seg produced before the writers strike. Other highlights included Sunday demo victors “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (5.6/12, 14.00m) and “Brothers & Sisters” (4.2/10, 10.90m), and a respectable start for Monday’s “Dance War” (3.0/7, 11.00m).

Not so hot was new drama “Cashmere Mafia” (2.3/6, 6.16m), which struggled in its regular-slot debut on Wednesday.

Univision got off to a strong start Thursday with “Amas De Casa Desesperadas” (the Spanish version of “Desperate Housewives”), which drew the second best scores to date for a 10 o’clock series on the net in 18-49 (1.8/5) and total viewers (3.75 million).

CW was on the rise, thanks to the two-hour season preem of “One Tree Hill,” which nabbed the net’s best Tuesday numbers of the season (1.6/4 in 18-49, 3.47m) and then improved the net’s woeful showing on Sunday when it repeated there. Also, “Friday Night Smackdown” (1.6/5, 4.78m) continues to pin down good scores, matching its second best number of the season in adults 18-34 (1.4/5).

And MyNetwork was pleased with its Tuesday performance, with “Street Patrol” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 1.27m) and “Jail” (0.6/2, 1.82m), which delivered the net’s largest nightly aud to date for series programming.

In the evening news race, NBC’s “Nightly News” (2.5/9 in 25-54, 9.67m) edged out ABC’s “World News” (2.4/8, 9.28m), with CBS’ “Evening News” remaining well behind (1.8/6, 6.86m). The Eye newscast with Katie Couric was down about 7% vs. the same week last year, while ABC with Charles Gibson was up slightly and NBC with Brian Williams was roughly flat.

USA led the cable nets thanks to “WWE Raw” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 4.85m) and good returns for Friday dramas “Psych” (1.7/5, 4.69m) and “Monk” (1.6/5, 5.65m).

VH1 claimed cable’s top program among the 18-49 crowd with the bow of returning series “Rock of Love With Bret Michaels” (2.2/5, 3.72m). Other reality shows cracking the week’s top 10 in 18-49 were Bravo’s “Project Runway” on Wednesday (1.7/5, 3.23m) and A&E’s “Intervention” on Monday (1.4/3, 2.59m).

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