Orange Bowl ratings not sweet for Fox

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NEW YORK -- NBC prevailed in primetime as Tuesday night's Orange Bowl turned into a lemon for Fox with a less than stellar ratings performance.

This year's Orange Bowl couldn't compare to last year's triple-overtime thriller between Penn State and Florida State, which averaged 18.7 million viewers and a 6.3 rating/18 share in adults 18-49. This year's game averaged only 9.7 million viewers and a 3.6/9 in the demo, according to Nielsen Media Research.

NBC took the night in both key audience measures, according to preliminary estimates released Wednesday by Nielsen Media Research. Final data will be in later Wednesday.

CBS and Fox split the first hour of primetime, with "NCIS" (13 million, 3.0 rating/8 share in adults 18-49) the clear winner in viewers and the Orange Bowl's first hour drawing 9 million viewers and a 3.1/8. NBC was close behind with "Dateline" (9.5 million, 2.9/8).

NBC surpassed the bowl with "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (13.4 million, 4.1/10), which won the 9 p.m. hour in both measures. And it won hands down at 10 p.m. with a new episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (15.1 million, 5.2/14).

Beyond NBC's lineup and the Orange Bowl, little else stood out. CBS programd repeats and the only new episodes on ABC were the troubled sitcom "Big Day," which averaged 5 million viewers and a 1.8/4 at 9 p.m.

Nightly averages: ABC (6 million, 2.0/5); CBS (9.6 million, 2.5/6); NBC (12.7 million, 4.1/10); Fox (9.7 million, 3.4/9); and The CW (1.8 million, 0.8/2).
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