ESPN expected to win with college football title game

Original episodes of ”The Bachelor” and ”Castle” lifted ABC to a narrow demo victory over CBS’ lineup of repeats on Monday, a night which ESPN was expected to dominate with college football’s Bowl Championship Series title game.

Preliminary estimates weren’t immediately available for Alabama’s 21-0 victory over Louisiana State, though the game was expected to come in below last year’s game between Auburn and Oregon, which was both a more geographically diverse matchup as well as a better, higher-scoring contest. Last year’s BCS title game drew about 27.3 million viewers.

On the broadcast side Monday, ”The Bachelor” (2.2 rating/5 share in adults 18-49, 7.2 million viewers overall) was down from its season premiere of last week to what appears to be a series low in the demo. Still, it and a timeslot-leading original episode of ”Castle” (2.3/6 in 18-49, 9.8 million viewers overall) helped ABC edge CBS for the Big Four lead in 18-49. ABC also won the night in total viewers.

CBS drew consistently solid repeat comedy numbers from 8 to 10 p.m.: ”How I Met Your Mother” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 6.5 million viewers overall), ”2 Broke Girls” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 7.2 million viewers overall), ”Two and a Half Men” (2.3/5 in 18-49, 8.3 million viewers overall) and ”Mike and Molly” (2.3/5 in 18-49, 7.8 million viewers overall). And at 10, an encore episode of ”Hawaii Five-0” did a 1.6/4 in 18-49 and 6.1 million viewers overall.

NBC aired original episodes of alternative series ”Who’s Still Standing?” (1.6/4 in 18-49, 6.2 million viewers overall) and ”Fear Factor” (2.2/5 in 18-49, 5.5 million viewers overall), with the former up a bit and the latter down a couple of ticks. Closing out the night was another low-rated installment of newsmag ”Rock Center with Brian Williams” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall).

Fox aired a pair of ”House” repeats, which averaged a 1.1/3 in 18-49 and 3.3 million viewers overall, and CW went with encores of ”Gossip Girl” (0.3/1 in 18-49, 0.7 million viewers overall) and ”Hart of Dixie” (0.3/1 in 18-49, 0.9 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 2.2/5; CBS, 2.1/5; NBC and Univision, 1.5/4; Fox, 1.1/3; CW, 0.3/1.

In total viewers: ABC, 8.1 million; CBS, 7.0 million; NBC, 4.9 million; Univision, 3.8 million; Fox, 3.3 million; CW, 0.8 million.

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