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Saints game in Big Easy draw a big number

Brett Favre may have lost the game, but he’s now the biggest TV star since Jerry Seinfeld.

Fox’s Sunday coverage of the NFC championship game — in which Favre’s Minnesota Vikings lost in overtime to the New Orleans Saints — scored the most viewers of any telecast (except Super Bowls) since the 1998 “Seinfeld” finale. Saints-vikings-getty

The Fox football broadcast drew 57.9 million viewers, which makes it the most-watched program on all of television since “Seinfeld’s” exit attracted an audience of 76.3 million viewers.

The game from the Big Easy was also the second most-watched conference championship matchup in 30 years. The last time that many people tuned in was 1982, for a game between the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers — in which Dwight Clark made “The Catch” and put the 49ers into the Super Bowl. That matchup drew 68.7 million,

Sunday’s Vikings-Saints thriller earned a 30.6 household rating/45 share and was the most-watched program in the history of Fox — again, excluding Super Bowls and Super Bowl postgame shows — with a rating 40% more than last year’s Arizona-Philadelphia NFC title game.

In New Orleans, numbers spiked to 67.4/83 at 10:15 ET — the highest local rating ever for an NFL postseason game — as Garrett Hartley kicked the game-winning field goal to send the Saints to their first Super Bowl. In Minneapolis, game earned a 58.7/80.

Overall, playoffs were a record-breaker on Fox, with net averaging 40.2 million viewers over four games. Previous record was 37.3 million set in 1995.

CBS’ Jets-Colts game was no slouch, either. Contest earned an overnight rating of 28.4/50, the highest for an AFC championship game in 16 years, was up 19% from last year’s Pittsburgh-Baltimore matchup.

The other networks didn’t put up much of a fight Sunday night. ABC aired a two-hour “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (2.5 rating/5 share, 7.8 million viewers in the 18-49 demo), good enough for second place. Alphabet, which came in second behind Fox, also telecast “America’s Funniest Home Viewers” (1.5/4, 5.8m) at 7 p.m. and a repeat of “Desperate Housewives” (1.3/3, 4.1m) at 10.

CBS aired a night of repeats, including a Don Hewitt retrospective on “60 Minutes” (1.3/3, 6.9m). Rest of the evening was filled by procedurals: “CSI: NY” (1.0/2, 5.4m), “Cold Case” (1.3/3, 6m) and “CSI: Miami” (1.7/4, 7.1m).

Peacock broadcast a two-hour “Dateline” (0.7/2, 3.9m) and the U.S. Figure Skating Championships (0.6/1, 3.5m).

Photo: Getty Images

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