College football makes the grade

BCS championship game drives Fox to Monday win

Fox's broadcast of the BCS National Championship game dominated the ratings Monday night.

Meanwhile, NBC's "American Gladiators" made a successful transition to its regular 8 p.m. Monday slot, while another new unscripted entry, ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" spinoff, "Dance Wars: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann," got off to a less promising start. (Review on page 14.)

Louisiana State's 38-24 victory over Ohio State in the BCS title game averaged an 8.2 rating/12 share among adults 18-49 and 23.1 million viewers from 8:24 p.m.-11:36 p.m. EST, according to Live+SD (same day) Nielsen numbers. That was down 23% in the demo from last year's BCS game, when Florida beat Ohio State 41-14.

Airing against the BCS pregame/game on the East Coast, "Gladiators" (4.8/12, 10.9 million) slipped a modest 19% from its big premiere Sunday, posted the best nonsports ratings for the night and grew by a full demo rating point between the first and second half-hour.

Additionally, to get additional sampling for the promising reality series, NBC's owned- and -affiliated stations will get a second run of the first three episodes of "Gladiators" for nonprimetime broadcast on the weekends of Jan. 19-20, Jan. 26-27 and Feb. 2-3.

The rest of NBC's lineup didn't hold up as well. Following a "Deal or No Deal" (3.6/8, 10.7 million) at 9 p.m., the season premiere of the drama "Medium" (3.3/8, 9.6 million) posted the series' lowest original Monday rating in 18-49.

ABC's two-hour premiere of "Dance Wars" averaged a 3.0/7 in 18-49 and 11 million viewers overall, down 48% from the most recent season premiere of "Dancing With the Stars."

At 10 p.m., an original "October Road" (1.8/4, 5.0 million) finished behind all repeats on CBS. (The Eye network aired its regular Monday lineup in reruns.)

For the night, NBC (3.9/10, 10.4 million) finished second behind Fox (7.9/20, 22.6 million). CBS (2.7/7, 8.2 million) edged ABC (2.6/6, 9.0 million) in 18-49.