Playoffs fuel Fox's big 'Burgers'; NBC's 'Cape' OK

Fox dominated Sunday’s ratings action thanks to a huge football overrun that led into season highs for “The Simpsons” and tasty premiere numbers for “Bob’s Burgers.” NBC, meanwhile, earned respectable ratings for its special preview of “The Cape.”

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, the first hour of primetime was dominated by Fox’s game and post-game coverage of the NFC wild-card playoff contest between the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles, which drew more than 35 million viewers. That led into “The Simpsons” (5.7/14 in 18-49, 12.7 million viewers overall), which drew easily its best numbers in a while, and the 8:30 p.m. premiere of “Bob’s Burgers” (4.5/11 in 18-49, 9.4 million viewers overall), which logged the best 18-49 score for any premiere this season. The net then edged up some at 9 p.m. with “Family Guy” (4.7/11 in 18-49, 9.3 million viewers overall) before dropping off at 9:30 p.m. with the timeslot debut of “The Cleveland Show” (3.5/8 in 18-49, 7.4 million viewers overall).

A bigger test for “Bob’s Burgers” — and Fox’s revamped animation lineup — will come next week when the net doesn’t have a football overrun and its “Simpsons” lead-in figures to be considerably smaller. Fox is hoping that “Bob’s” will keep most of its “Simpsons” lead-in, and that “Cleveland Show” at 9:30 can hold onto more of its “Family Guy” lead-in than former timeslot occupant “American Dad.”

At NBC, a two-hour “Dateline” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall) was followed by a special two-hour, off-night preview episode of drama “The Cape” (2.6/6 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall), which will be airing regularly on Mondays starting tonight. Though not a big debut, “Cape” did win out in 18-49 at 10 p.m. over its established ABC drama competition, “Brothers and Sisters” (2.3/6 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall). And in a good sign, it was able to maintain, or slightly grow, its audience in key demos from its first half-hour to its last.

ABC was led as usual by “Desperate Housewives” (3.8/9 in 18-49, 12.7 million viewers overall), which was in line with the previous week and stood as Sunday’s most-watched regular series. Earlier in the evening, both “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 7.6 million viewers overall) and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (2.6/6 in 18-49, 9.1 million viewers overall) were down slightly and likely affected by Fox’s big showing.

CBS had a rather quiet night, opening with a “60 Minutes” installment (1.6/4 in 18-49, 10.5 million viewers overall) that was clearly impacted by the big football action on Fox. It was followed by an original “CSI: Miami” at a special earlier time (2.5/6 in 18-49, 11.9 million viewers overall), “Undercover Boss” (3.0/7 in 18-49, 11.6 million viewers overall) and a repeat “CSI: Miami” at 10 (1.8/5 in 18-49, 7.1 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 7.1/17; ABC, 2.6/7; CBS, 2.2/6; NBC, 1.8/5; Univision, 0.6/2.

In total viewers: Fox, 17.4 million; CBS, 10.3 million; ABC, 9.4 million; NBC, 7.0 million; Univision, 1.7 million.

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