Football dominates week's primetime ratings

Fox takes title as BCS, NFL playoffs dominate

NEW YORK -- Last week's primetime ratings were all about sports, with five postseason football games taking the top spots in the adults 18-49 demographic.

That led to a big victory for Fox, which carried the top-rated BCS National Championship Game plus the Fiesta Bowl and Saturday's NFC playoff game. CBS also made ratings waves Sunday with the Steelers-Chargers AFC playoff runover into primetime, which averaged 34.1 million viewers between 7-8 p.m., though the game started at 4:45 p.m. EST.

For viewership and ratings, the Oklahoma-Florida BCS championship tilt on Thursday was the week's top show: It averaged 26.8 million viewers and a 9.5 rating/25 share in adults 18-49, Nielsen said Tuesday. Even the Arizona-Carolina NFC playoff game (23.8 million, 8.9/25) and the Steelers-Chargers runover fell short.

The top scripted shows were two ABC heavyweights, "Grey's Anatomy" (13.9 million, 5.2/12) and "Desperate Housewives" (13.8 million, 5.2/12). The most-watched show was CBS' freshman "The Mentalist" (19.6 million, 4.0/10); it was about even with last week's viewership-record episode and built slightly upon its lead-in, veteran "NCIS" (19.1 million, 3.8/10). Yet NBC won the Tuesday battleground with a two-hour "The Biggest Loser" (11.9 million, 4.5/11) that grew off last week's premiere (11.8 million, 4.4/11).

Beyond football and "Housewives," Sunday also was marked by two big events: The Golden Globes ceremony on NBC and the season premiere of Fox's "24."

"Housewives," which wasn't among the TV shows eligible for the Globes because of the writers strike, got its revenge in the ratings.

The Globes (14.9 million, 4.9/12) rated higher than last year's strike-impacted news conference telecast but was the lowest-rated ceremony since NBC took over the show in 1996. "24" (12.6 million, 4.3/10) was higher than the prequel telefilm that aired in November but a record low for a series premiere.

For last week's ratings, Fox (14.2 million, 5.0/12) led thanks to football. CBS was second (11.7 million, 3.1/8), followed by ABC (7.8 million, 2.7/7) and NBC (8.3 million, 2.6/7), which was fourth by a nose in the demo but ahead of ABC in viewership.