ESPN, TBS have a ball in Mon. night ratings game


ESPN's "Monday Night Football" hit a household record in cable TV this year in a Monday primetime that included big audiences for ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" and a divisional-series record for the final Yankees-Indians baseball playoff game on TBS.

The Dallas Cowboys-Buffalo Bills NFL matchup, which was decided in the last second, averaged 13 million viewers and came out ahead of cable and broadcast in male demos as well as adults 18-34 and adults 18-49, Nielsen Media Research said. The 10 household rating was a record for cable TV in 2007, surpassing even Disney Channel's "High School Musical 2," though the latter's record 17.2 million viewers was safe.

Meanwhile, the New York Yankees-Cleveland Indians American League playoff contest averaged 9.2 million viewers to make it cable's top divisional series game ever, topping Sunday's 8.5 million viewers that watched the Yankees win Game 3. It was the best week ever for TBS, the network said.

On the broadcast side, ABC kept stomping through Monday's primetime as "Dancing" won broadcast handily, while NBC's "Chuck" and "Journeyman" slipped.

"Dancing" averaged 19.6 million viewers and a 5.0 rating/12 share in the adults 18-49 demographic. "Dancing" dominated from 8-9:30 p.m., though it was down week-over-week. NBC's "Heroes" (10.9 million, 5.1/12) also fell week-over-week to its lowest ratings ever in viewership and tied its series low in adults 18-49.

Also down week-over-week was 10 p.m. time-period winner "CSI: Miami" (14.4 million, 4.5/11) on CBS, though it was enough to beat ABC's "The Bachelor" (8.8 million, 3.3/8) and "Journeyman" (6.9 million, 2.9/7). "Journeyman" was down from last week (8.2 million, 3.2/8).

Like Sunday night, football and baseball took away an untold number of viewers, particularly in the male demos.

"Chuck" (7.2 million, 2.7/7) was down week-over-week, while Fox's "Prison Break" (7.3 million, 3.1/8) was flat. CBS saw slight increases with "How I Met Your Mother" (8 million, 3.2/8) and "The Big Bang Theory" (8.3 million, 3.4/8). The CW's "Everybody Hates Chris" (2.6 million, 1.1/3) was up slightly, but "Aliens in America" (2.1 million, 0.8/2) stayed steady and lost part of its lead-in. CBS' "Two and a Half Men" (13 million, 4.4/10) was down slightly from last week, while "Rules of Engagement" (10.7 million, 3.8/9) was up a bit. Fox's drama "K-Ville" (5.4 million, 2.0/5) was about even with last week.

For the night, ABC (14.6 million, 4.1/10) led in all major categories, followed by CBS (11.5 million, 4.0/10), NBC (8.3 million, 3.6/9), Fox (6.3 million, 2.5/6) and the CW (2.5 million, 1.1/3).