ABC bowls ’em over

Dick Clark's return helps net rock

ABC Sports has set the table for tonight’s much-anticipated college football championship main course with good Nielsens for Monday’s appetizer matchups.

In metered-market household overnights, Monday’s Fiesta Bowl between Ohio State and Notre Dame (4:45-8:45 p.m. ET) earned a 13.6 rating/22 share, up 5% in rating from last year’s 13.0/23 for the comparable Rose Bowl game pitting Texas against Michigan.

And in primetime (8:45 p.m.-12 a.m. ET), the Sugar Bowl between West Virginia and Georgia (9.4/15) outperformed last year’s comparable Fiesta Bowl between Utah and Pittsburgh (8.5/14).

This is the last season ABC will be the exclusive home of college football’s Bowl Championship Series. Beginning next season, Fox will carry three of the four games while the Alphabet will continue to air the Rose Bowl.

Tonight’s BCS championship in the Rose Bowl pits two-time defending champ USC against Texas.

Nielsen also reported that Dick Clark’s return to his annual “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” telecast on ABC boosted the numbers.

From 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m., ABC’s countdown celebration averaged a strong 11.2 household rating/24 share in metered-market overnights — up from last year’s good 10.7/23. Ryan Seacrest joined Clark as host this time, one year after Clark missed the festivities for the first time due to a stroke.

Fox’s “New Year’s Eve,” hosted by Regis Philbin, notched a 3.7/8 in the overnights from 11:30-12:30, up from last year’s 3.3/7.

And NBC’s foray into the countdown game paid off, as “New Year’s Eve With Carson Daly” netted a solid 4.9/10 in the overnights from 11:30-12:20. Last year, when the Peacock aired a repeat of “The Tonight Show” in the latenight slot, Daly’s 10-11 p.m. show scored a 3.2 rating.

These results are subject to change in the nationals, as they don’t include seven of Nielsen’s 55 metered markets. Detailed results for New Year’s Eve, including demo breakdowns, will be released later this week.

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