NBC on top with reality show, 'SVU'

Football dominated primetime during the New Year’s frame, with NBC and Fox cleaning up on the gridiron, as usual this time of year.

The Peacock’s coverage of the NFL wild-card playoff contest between San Diego and Indianapolis on Saturday was easily the frame’s top draw. And Fox kicked off the new year with a pair of college bowl games as well as a hefty NFL playoff overrun.

ABC benefited from the end of the Rose Bowl, which spilled into primetime on Thursday, while season leader CBS, the only major net without any football help, paid the price with a rare fourth-place finish.

Overall for the week of Dec. 29-Jan. 4, according to Nielsen estimates, NBC led the way with a 2.9 rating/8 share in adults 18-49, followed by Fox (2.8/8), ABC (2.1/6) and CBS (2.0/5). NBC also won in adults 25-54 (3.5/9) and total viewers (9.35 million).

For the Peacock, the San Diego Chargers’ 23-17 overtime victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday logged the best numbers for any primetime telecast this season (10.0/27 in 18-49, 27.79m). It more than doubled the combined delivery of ABC, CBS and Fox on the night.

NBC didn’t have too much else to crow about, although new competition series “Superstars of Dance” delivered solid numbers with a two-hour preview seg Sunday (3.1/8 in 18-49, 10.55m).

Fox was quiet with the exception of football, generating excellent Friday scores for college’s Sugar Bowl (4.3/12 in 18-49, 13.37m for Alabama-Utah) and nothing-special numbers for the previous night’s Orange Bowl (3.0/8, 9.32m for Cincinnati-Virginia Tech).

And the net’s best numbers came with Sunday’s nearly hourlong NFL overrun for the first-round playoff game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings (11.4/30 in 18-49, 31.25m).

ABC’s Sunday sudsers “Desperate Housewives” (5.2/12, 14.39m) and “Brothers and Sisters” (3.2/8, 9.09m) were on the low side in their returns, but “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (3.7/9, 10.94m) fared better relative to its season average.

The Alphabet did well on New Year’s Day with a Rose Bowl overrun spilling into the first half-hour of primetime (5.6/15, 17.62m), but squandered that lead-in with low-rated repeats.

CBS was paced by Monday repeats “Two and a Half Men” (3.6/10 in 18-49, 11.87m), “How I Met Your Mother” (2.9/8, 7.70m) and “CSI: Miami” (2.9/8, 11.36m).

Also for the Eye, its annual telecast of the “Kennedy Center Honors” delivered it best 25-54 score (2.7/7) in nine years and its largest overall aud (10.51 million) in three years.

ESPN dominated among the cable networks thanks to college football bowl games on Tuesday (1.9/6 in 18-49, 6.22m for Oklahoma State-Oregon in the Holiday Bowl) and Monday (1.9/6, 6.08m for Missouri-Northwestern in the Alamo Bowl).

Nickelodeon claimed the week’s top cable entertainment telecasts with the Saturday premieres of “iCarly” (5.94 million) and “True Jackson, VP” (4.55 million).

Elsewhere, History’s “Nostradamus: 2012″ was Sunday’s most-watched cable program with 3.9 million viewers, and the eighth-season preem of A&E’s “The First 48″ drew a solid 2.3 million viewers on Thursday.

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