NBC's season finale of "Sunday Night Football" again set the pace on Sunday, but ABC's "Desperate Housewives" looked good in its return and nearly matched the NFL contest in key demos.
ABC has continued its stranglehold on the New Year's Eve ratings race, dominating again last week even though NBC's festivities also found an audience.
A once popular tradition of Teutonic holiday TV, primetime reviews of the past year that ensured all the webs a big audience, is losing its lustre.
On a dawdling Tuesday night when Fox aired the suitably titled film "The Benchwarmers," CBS was the most-watched network in primetime in the 18-49 demo and among viewers overall.
NFL Network wrapped its coverage of live games in 2009 with a 49% rating increase over last season.
CBS and NBC fared best in the last full week of 2009, with each getting a boost from NFL action on Sunday.
CBS comedies "Two and a Half Men" and "The Big Bang Theory" showed some pop even in repeats Monday, lifting the Eye network past its broadcast rivals.
Santa was nice to CBS-owned independent KCAL on Christmas morning.
Top basic cablers prospered by sticking to the script in 2009, riding original drama and comedy skeins like "Sons of Anarchy" to new ratings heights.
NBC's "Sunday Night Football," featuring a matchup of rivals Dallas and Washington, dominated the ratings action on the final Sunday of 2009.