CBS dominated Sunday’s primetime ratings race thanks to its NFL playoff game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens. ABC, meanwhile, paid the price of going up against such a juggernaut as anchor “Desperate Housewives” fell to a firstrun low.
According to Nielsen estimates adjusted for time-zone differences, the Steelers’ 23-14 victory over the Ravens in football’s AFC Championship game averaged roughly a 14.7 rating in adults 18-49 and 40.6 million viewers overall, making it the top-rated primetime telecast of the season. It was down, as expected, from the record-setting delivery in primetime a year ago for Fox’s coverage of the overtime NFC Championship game between the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers (20.6/46 in 18-49, 53.9 million viewers overall).
Ratings weren’t available Monday for Fox’s coverage of the NFC Championship game (3-6:10 p.m. ET), in which the Arizona Cardinals knocked off the Philadelphia Eagles, 32-25.
Following the game on CBS, an original episode of “The Mentalist” averaged a 4.6 rating and 16.4 million viewers overall, according to time zone-adjusted preliminary Nielsens. This reps the best demo delivery to date for the season’s hottest rookie show, while it was a bit below average in total viewers.
At ABC, “Extreme Makeover” (2.9/7 in 18-49, 8.6 million viewers overall), “Desperate Housewives” (4.6/10 in 18-49, 13.0 million viewers overall) and “Brothers & Sisters” (2.8/7 in 18-49, 8.9 million viewers overall) all hit season lows for original episodes, although they were the clear No. 2 choices to football on the night.
Fox was led by repeats of “The Simpsons” (2.3/5 in 18-49, 4.9 million viewers overall) and “Family Guy” (2.2/5 in 18-49, 5.0 million viewers overall), while NBC did little business with either its two-hour “Dateline” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 5.3 million viewers overall) or its repeat special “Saturday Night Live Presidential Bash” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 4.9 million viewers overall).