Fox blows away Mon. competition with BCS

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NEW YORK -- Fox blew away the competition in primetime Monday as surely as Florida defeated Ohio State, 42-14, to take the Bowl Championship Series.

While it will be later today when final data is in, Fox took an early commanding lead in broadcast primetime with an estimated 26.4 million viewers and a 9.5 rating/22 share in the adults 18-49 demographic, according to preliminary data released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research. The game peaked at 9 p.m. with 29.4 million viewers.

CBS mounted a challenge against the BCS with its entire Monday night schedule in originals. Its ratings were down but still respectable against the BCS. "Deal or No Deal" (14 million, 3.9/10) on NBC led the best of the rest at 8 p.m., with "How I Met Your Mother" (8.4 million, 3.1/8) down slightly and "The Class" (7.7 million, 2.9/7) just about average, as was ABC's "Wife Swap" (8 million, 3.3/8).

The 9 p.m. hour beyond the BCS went firmly to CBS, with "Two and a Half Men" (14.8 million, 4.7/11) and "The New Adventures of Old Christine" (12.1 million, 4.1/9) about average along with ABC's "Supernanny" ( 8.1 million, 3.3/8). NBC dropped off sharply with one of two repeats of "Heroes" (5.7 million, 2.1/5).

CBS put up a good number with a new "CSI: Miami" (15.9 million, 5.1/12) although it suffered the same BCS-itis that plagued the rest of the schedule: It was down 12% from its season average in adults 18-49. "Deal or No Deal" was down 17% from its season average. NBC was barely there at 10 p.m. with another repeat "Heroes" (4.4 million, 1.8/4) although it was just behind a new "What About Brian" (4.7 million, 2.0/5) on ABC.

Nightly averages: ABC (6.9 million, 2.8/7); CBS (12.5 million, 4.2/10); NBC (8 million, 2.6/6); Fox (26.4 million, 9.5/22); and The CW (1.9 million, 0.8/2).
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