Viewers deck halls with boughs of football

As the networks began decorating primetime with holiday specials last week, viewers continued to deck the halls with boughs of football.

NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” game — in which the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens 13-10 — led all primetime programs for the 13th week in a row, averaging 22.5 million viewers and a 8.3 rating/21 share with adults 18-49.

ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” posted the No. 3 rating of the week in the demo (4.4/12) and easily led all cablers.

Meanwhile, Fox’s NFL overrun transported such a high number into primetime (10.7/31) that the net won the week in the demo.

Fox was also assisted by a nice bump for “Glee,” which was up 15% week-to-week (having been hurt the previous week by ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” finale). “Glee” was the top nonsports program of the week in adults 18-49.

While “Glee” led the hour, CBS’ Tuesday rebroadcast of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” also performed well. Special actually beat “Glee” among total viewers (12.2 million) and was a close second in the demo (3.9/11).

“Rudolph” led all of the week’s holiday-timed specs — including CBS’ strong “Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show,” which easily won the Tuesday 10 p.m. hour (9 million viewers, 3.4/9 adults 18-49).

Sandwiched in between “Rudolph” and “Victoria’s Secret,” CBS’ resilient “NCIS” led the week among all nonsports programs with viewers (15 million). Even more impressive: “NCIS” was in repeats, and up against original series on the other nets. (“NCIS” also won its hour among adults 18-49, with a 3.0/8).

Without “Dancing With the Stars,” ABC slumped into fourth place for the week. Veterans “Grey’s Anatomy” (4.0/10 adults 18-49) and “Desperate Housewives” (3.6/8) kept the lights on, but comedy repeats hurt the Alphabet’s Wednesday night perf — so much that “The Whole Truth” (0.9/3), which had just returned to the sked, was yanked for good.

On Monday, new reality entry “Skating With the Stars” (1.2/3) brought in a fraction of “Dancing’s” normal aud there.

CBS was also in repeats for much of last week, including its Monday and Thursday series. With ABC and CBS already checked out for the holidays, that allowed football-fueled NBC, which was also still mostly in originals, to find its way into second place.

In the cable sphere, AMC’s “The Walking Dead” finale posted a 3.0 rating/7 share in adults 18-49 — good enough to be tied for 14th place in the demo. That’s easily the best perf for an AMC program ever.

And viewers flocked to see LeBron James make his first visit to Cleveland as a Miami Heat player. The NBA game averaged a 3.2 rating/9 share with the demo, making it the second-highest rated cablecast of the week in young adults.

The holiday cheer was in full force at ABC Family, which kicked off its annual “25 Days of Christmas” stunt with its best ratings ever in total viewers and adults 18-49. As a result, the week saw ABC Family’s second-best perf in adults 18-49 ever (1.2 million).

ABC Family came in as the most-watched cable net of the week (2.6 million), beating out even USA, Disney, TNT and the CW. The network was also the No. 2 cable net with adults 18-49, behind only ESPN.

Meanwhile, in a reminder that the networks aren’t really in the movie game anymore, NBC’s latest Procter & Gamble/Walmart time-buy, “A Walk in My Shoes,” averaged just a 1.0/3 in the demo on Friday, while CBS’ theatrical “Evan Almighty” posted a 1.2/4 on Saturday. (Of course, NBC’s drama repeats did even worse on Saturday.)

In the broadcast network Christmas showdown, “Rudolph” was followed by ABC’s “Shrek the Halls” (2.4/6), ABC’s “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” (2.3/7), ABC’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (2.2/4), NBC’s “Christmas at Rockefeller Center” (1.9/5) and ABC’s “CMA Country Christmas” (1.4/4).

For the week, among broadcasters CBS was tops with total viewers (9.2 million), then NBC (8 million), ABC (7.2 million), Fox (7.1 million), Univision (3.6 million) and CW (2.3 million). Fox led with adults 18-49 (2.6/7), then NBC (2.5/7), CBS (2.2/6), ABC (2.0/6), Univision (1.4/4) and CW (1.0/3).

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