NFL playoffs lift Fox for week

A&E, BET and MTV all cable standouts as well

It was Fox’s turn to bask in the glow of the NFL last week, as the most-watched second-round primetime game on record lifted the net to victory in key demos.

Week also opened with big numbers for college football’s Bowl Championship Series title game, which set a cable record. It was one of a handful of strong cable ratings performers during the frame, including MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” BET’s “The Game” and A&E’s “Beyond Scared Straight.”

Also of note during the second week of the new year, NBC’s telecast of the Golden Globes won its timeslot on Sunday and was the week’s No. 1 nonsports program among young adults — holding roughly even with last year in a season that has seen other awards shows fall off. And CBS vet “NCIS” was the week’s No. 1 scripted series in demos while drawing its largest total audience ever.

Overall, according to Nielsen, Fox led the Jan. 10-16 primetime frame in adults 18-49 with a 3.7 rating/10 share, followed by CBS (2.9/8), ABC (2.1/6), NBC (2.0/5), ESPN (1.7/4) and Univision (1.2/3). Fox also led in adults 25-54 (4.2/10 to 3.8/10 for CBS), with the Eye winning in total viewers (11.9 million to 10.3 million for Fox).

The top telecast last week was Saturday’s NFL Divisional Round game between Green Bay and Atlanta on Fox (11.2/32 in 18-49, 30.82 million viewers overall), which drew the largest overall primetime aud ever for this round of the playoffs. It gave Fox its first top-rated Saturday in 18-49 since the World Series in October 1996 and its highest number of total viewers on the night ever.

Ranking a strong second was Monday’s BCS title game on ESPN between Auburn and Oregon (10.1/26 in 18-49, 27.32m), which set a cable viewership record.

NBC’s coverage of “The 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards” ranked third for the week in demos (5.2/14, 17.00m), down 5% vs. last year in 18-49 but up a smidge in total viewers.

CBS vet “NCIS” (4.5/12 in 18-49, 21.93m) was the week’s No. 1 scripted program in all key categories, racking up its best demo scores since October and its largest overall audience ever. Lead-out “NCIS: Los Angeles” (3.7/10, 18.13m) also made the week’s top 10 in 18-49 and drew its largest total viewership since its series preem.

ABC was repped in the top 10 by the Thursday tandem of “Grey’s Anatomy” (4.3/12, 12.15m) and “Wipeout” (3.7/11, 10.64m) as well as Wednesday comedy “Modern Family” (4.2/11, 11.12m), which started late in most of the country due to President Obama’s address to the nation at the memorial service for victims of a mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz.

The address drew a combined 30.77 million viewers on the Big Four and cable newsies CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. This was a slightly larger tune-in than Obama drew for his speech on the Iraq war last August (29.23 million) and somewhat less than his speech on the Gulf Coast oil spill last June (32.05 million).

Looking at cable, MTV’s “Jersey Shore” remains scorching hot (4.4/12 in 18-49, 8.56m), hitting series highs Thursday for a second straight week and ranking fifth in 18-49 during a week that featured big football and plenty of firstrun broadcast series.

At BET, the network preem of former CW comedy “The Game” (3.6/10 in 18-49, 7.68m) became the net’s top-rated series telecast ever, easily beating the demo deliveries of competing firstrun Tuesday 10 p.m. broadcast dramas “The Good Wife” on CBS (2.3/6), “Parenthood” on NBC (2.2/6) and “Detroit 1-8-7” on ABC (1.0/3).

In adults 18-34, “The Game” surged to a 4.6/13, making it the No. 1 primetime show on all of TV for the night; and in women 18-34 (6.4/18) it was the week’s No. 1 scripted program, ahead of even “Grey’s Anatomy” (5.8/15).

At A&E, Thursday’s preem of “Beyond Scared Straight” (1.7/5, 3.68m) became the most-watched original series launch in network history among all key demos, peaking with 3.9 million viewers in its final half-hour. This came during a strong week for the net that also included Monday’s season finale of “Hoarders” (1.4/5, 3.05m) and Wednesday’s season high for “Storage Wars” (1.3/4, 2.82m).

Discovery Channel’s “Gold Rush: Alaska” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.54m) led all of television in key male demos Friday at 10, and its lead-in, “Flying Wild Alaska,” set some network premiere records by drawing 2.58 million viewers.

Disney Channel’s “Hannah Montana” ended its four-season run with an above-average aud of 6.18 million on Sunday, leading into series highs for both “Suite Life on Deck” (7.11m) and “Good Luck Charlie” (6.66m).

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