Thursday’s BCS championship game between Alabama and Texas drew 30.7 million viewers to ABC, making it the most-watched title matchup since 2006.
The Crimson Tide’s win at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., crushed all competitors for the night and was the most-watched program since the 2009 Academy Awards (also on ABC). Game earned a 10.5 rating/28 share in the 18-49 demo.
Demo was up 11% from a year ago when Fox broadcast the Orange Bowl when Florida defeated Oklahoma, and there was an approximately 4 million increase in total viewers as well.
Yet despite the huge turnout Thursday, the contest didn’t surpass the championship game four years ago when 35.6 million saw Texas defeat USC in a high-scoring thriller, also at the Rose Bowl.
Every other scripted program was in repeat mode. CBS fared second behind ABC with three procedurals , a double dose of “CSI” at 8 o’clock (1.9/5, 9.3m) and 9 p.m. (2.3/5, 10.4m) and “The Mentalist” (2.2/6, 10.9m) to follow.
NBC offered it’s 8-10 p.m. comedy block , “Community” (1.7/5, 4.5m), “Parks & Recreation” (1.3/3, 3.2m), “The Office” (1.7/4, 3.9m) and “30 Rock” (1.7/4, 3.7m) , before “The Jay Leno Show” (1.4/4, 4.5m) which clearly, notwithstanding the football game, had the most drama of the night. Following an afternoon of rampart rumors about Leno moving back to 11:30 in possibly a return of “The Tonight Show” or in some other form, the host took shots at the Peacock during his monologue.
Fox finished fourth with “Bones” (1.7/5, 5.9m) and “Fringe” (1.0/3, 3.1m).
Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 9.5/24; CBS, 2.1/5; NBC, 1.5/4; Univision, 1.5/4; Fox, 1.4/3; CW, 0.6/2.
In total viewers: Fox, 28.4 million; CBS, 10.2 million; Fox, 4.5 million; NBC, 4 million; Univision, 3.8 million; CW, 700,000.